I went berry picking up and down the road I live on; the lane is lined with dozens of monstrous blackberry bushes. It's too early for blackberries, or in the words of the captain, too early for blueberries. Blackberries won't arrive until late July and early August. However, the salmonberry has already made it's appearance, a brief and fleeting one of which I am bereft of all taste and participation in. Salmonberries, for those of you unawares, are indigenous to the North American Pacific Coast and are a cousin to the raspberry, some markets refer to them as golden raspberries. To outsmart the gluttonous rooks and swallows of Irwin Ave is a feat near impossible; for they shark the area waiting for the exact moment of the first rouging of peachy color on the pubescent green berries, murdering them before they are ever allowed to make it upstream. I am not a fruitarian, that sect of vegans who, god help us, only eat fruit that has died, that is one that has fully ripened and has reached the end of its life and has fallen from its stem. It goes to question then whether a fruitarian would eat a suicidal fruit, that is one that has fallen from the tree not wholly ripened. Either way I subscribe to no such philosophy viewing myself as an advocate therefore for the murdering of all fruits. And vegetables for that matter. However, in the case of the pesky common birds and their monopoly over the salmonberries, I am with the vegans on waiting for that magical moment: i.e. ripeness.
Pondering the concept of ripeness in edibles is actually quite a common occurrence in the minds of many 21 year olds, right next to planning the next kegger Bard's Tale and New France brand only, I be allergic to wheat. There are others. God awfully expensive mind you. Act on; Ripeness of fruits, one begins to think the birds may be on to something. I began to think of the mighty banana: good to eat ripe as well as slightly green, but only good for baking after its become a brown sugar paste contained in a sausage skin of a peel. Tomatoes are fine to eat when they are crisp and solid; but an unripened green tomato lends a distinct flavor for many uses. Oy! There are, not in all cases, a purpose and use in three stages for any given fruit or vegetable--Sour, middle where it's edible on its own, and for sweet. The discoveries we make. Brilliant. Oh merci mes oiseaus.
As the salmonberries fell through I turned to plan B: huckleberries. After picking around 100 to fill only the bottom of a cup, I abandoned plan B for plan C: grocery store. My Jam ideas evolved from salmonberry fig, to apricot fig, and after discovering the price of figs to apricot peach, for both were 1.98/lb. Now I may tie in all this about ripeness: the apricots turned out quite stiff compared to the perfectly ripe peaches, and due to the well known fact of my patience deficit, i could not wait a day to can to let them ripen, i needed to can right then! So unripe apricots it is. The result: two jars already eaten. Tart underripe apricots marry the almost over sweet peach in this low sugar jam so that it is tangy and crisp yet savors strongly of the flavors of both the peach and the apricot.
The apricots outnumber the peaches 6 cups to 4, peaches have an overpowering tendency in my experience. Finely diced for the most part, with a few large chunks to give the appearance of an almost marmalade. I've noticed that people are very much drawn to chunks. Smooth peanut butter has always been my preference. 4 cups of sugar to the 10 cups of fruit; not the common ratio but too much sugar and you drown the jam. Again I use a universal pectin with the addition of calcium water and lemon juice. The salty cod is going to sell a lot of jam and preserves. The breads and sweet breads made for any time of day will always come with an accompaniment of a salty cod brand homemade confiture--and of course will be available by the jar full.