Thursday, 10 September 2020
I Bottle Abundance
The apples are falling into bags which find their way to my doorstep, the damsons have relaxed, forgiven themselves for not being plums, the dish and the spoon are getting well used, and the courgettes are running away with the beans. Even the herbs in my window box are making a final push for the moon, over-stretching beyond their theme tune ... Parsley, Chives, Rosemary and Thyme - with a ladida and a hey diddle diddle and damn the absence of Sage and a fiddle!
I've saved jars, and jammed some fruits into them, I've baked an apple tart, sprinkled it with almond flakes and cinnamon. In years gone by I pickled. I stoned. I peeled. I cored. But this year's new harvest trick is bottling.
Bottle. What a word. I bottle, you bottle, he, she, zhe, they, bottle. We've all bottled it through lock-down and here in the northern hemisphere we're facing, well, we're facing west and the lowering sun, and the coming of the colder months. But before that, the plenty, abundance of good things to store, to shore us up, turn into something warm and friendly, encouraging and faintly medicinal for whatever lies ahead. It's cordial.
Cordial. A tonic. Or with tonic, or sparkling water, or however you please. Gin, maybe. You won't mind sloshing it into your glass till it's half full, because it's a lot easier to make than jam. Or jelly, or cheese, or chutney. It requires largesse and no sugar thermometer. It involves simmering, straining, funnelling, and having a lot of glass bottles. Just what's needed for this year's harvest.