Fruit syrup gives early start to canning season |

Fruit syrup gives early start to canning season

Linda Marrone

Well, summer officially starts this Saturday but today as I’m writing this (Tuesday) it’s chilly and cold. I’ve got long pants on and a big pot of chicken stock cooking to make some chicken soup. It’s supposed to be 80 by this weekend which will be wonderful weather for the farmers market and Taste of Downtown.

The fruit at the market has been wonderful for so early in the season. I’ve already made a couple of peach cobblers, an apricot spice crumble cake and just canned some apricots and made a bunch of apricot butter. Seems early to be canning but I’m trying not to save it all to the end. I usually don’t can much fruit but the little organic apricots from our new organic farmer out of Fresno looked so good I couldn’t resist. They were small and it was time consuming but I’m stashing them away for this winter.

There are so many fantastic activities going on in town for the next couple of months you would be hard pressed to attend them all. There are two coming up that I think shouldn’t be missed. The first is Taste of Downtown coming up this Saturday. It’s always a fun time and a great way to try out some of the best food restaurants all over town have to offer, hear some music and visit with friends you haven’t seen in a while. The tickets are only $40 if you get them before Saturday and you can buy them at the Purple Avocado on Curry Street. The fundraiser is a benefit for Advocates to End Domestic Violence.

The other fundraiser coming up is the Concert Under the Stars at Adele’s on Wednesday, July 9, featuring the Little River Band. It’s a fundraiser for the Greenhouse Project that helps feed the under served in our community. Tickets are available at Adele’s or and, starting this Saturday, at the 3rd & Curry Street Farmers Market.

I’m just plugging these two non-profits today but there are many worthwhile organizations in town and you will find a lot of them at the Farmers Market getting the word out and informing the public about what they do and how to get involved.

The recipe I’m going to share today comes from an old friend who’s no longer with us, Evelyn Mathews. It’s an easy one and you can can it or freeze it. Follow standard canning instructions.

Apricot or Peach Syrup

4 cups fruit puree (wash and pit apricots, for peaches, peel, slice and pit)

3 tbsp. lemon juice

1 cup water

2 cups sugar more or less to taste

In a pan mix together until blended, puree, water and lemon juice, stir in sugar. Bring mixture to boil over medium heat stirring constantly. Remove from heat and skim off any foam and pour in sterilized jars. At this point you can freeze it, making sure you leave enough head room in your jars for expansion, or follow standard canning procedures. Processing time would be 10 minutes in 1/2 pint jars.

If you do not feel like cooking on Wednesday nights and want a hump-day treat, come downtown and try the dinner being offered at the Westside Pourhouse: Ralph’s smoked pork ribs with patio style beans, Carolina cole slaw and, while it lasts, complimentary peach cobbler.