I'm the cranky one on the left. I'm thinking "I can't believe it's RAINING in Wenatchee!" Luckily, I cheered up as soon as I got inside.
Normally I'm knee-deep in fruit about now, but I took a little break last weekend to go to my Eastmont High School Class of 1980 Reunion, in Eastern Washington. It was so much fun seeing everyone, and thanks to Facebook, I was able to study up on most of my classmates before I got there. It helped immensely when I had to match a name to a face.
I was pretty excited about catching up on the past 30 years with my classmates, but I think I was even more excited about being able to stock up on some wonderful Wenatchee Valley fruit.
On Friday, shortly before I left for East Wenatchee, a childhood friend of mine messaged me on Facebook, asking if I had any Watermelon Rind Pickles. Her request took me by surprise. Wasn't it just a couple weeks ago that another friend, quite unexpectedly I might add, requested a jar of my Watermelon Rind Pickles (in lieu of a birthday gift)?
When I first made them last year, I was twisting people's arms just to TRY them...
So I took my friend Lynda a jar of Watermelon Rind Pickles, and in return, she showed up at my motel room door the next day with a 22 pound box of Red Haven Peaches. Now THAT, my friends, was a great trade.
On the way back home on Sunday, I stopped at Miller Orchards, and picked up a box of Perfection Apricots. I had a lot of fun with those this week too! I made a Gingery~Apricot Conserve, starting with these ingedients:
3 pounds of apricots along with an orange, a lemon, and crystalized ginger. (Plus 3 cups of brown sugar.)
The end result was delicious on Roasted Chicken last night!
In addition to the Gingery-Apricot Conserve, I made 12 half-pints of good ol' Apricot Jam...rich, luscious and incredibly delicious, made better by macerating the fruit with sugar and lemon juice, and letting it sit overnight. (This process helps the sugar magically extract all of the juicy organic goodness from the Miller Orchards' apricots.)
I made Spiced Peach Butter with the Red Haven peaches...
...well...with what was left of the peaches. For 3 days I had been doling them out, 1 or 2 at a time, to friends and neighbors, like the precious gifts they were. Some people halved and grilled them, some couldn't wait long enough for the grill to warm up. I smiled when I thought of those people, eating the best Thank You gift I had gotten in a very long time.
As usual, the Pugs agreed with me.