It’s summer glut time and I’m suffering badly. I find it impossible to let produce go to waste. And I don’t like giving away produce if I think I may need it sometime in the forth coming year. Cucumbers I am happy to give away because I am determined not to make any more relish or pickles until we have eaten what is in the pantry – and there is not much else you can do with cucumbers.
Last year, I didn’t preserve any tomatoes. This year, I have succumbed and made a dozen jars of passata. Early in the season, I resolved not to freeze any beans but, the other day, I froze three huge bags – ‘Why buy beans in winter when I could eat my own?’, I reasoned.
Things were beginning to settle down when … We had a windy day and I found these, and more, passionfruit on the ground. All up, there were four and half buckets of them.
I know how expensive passionfruit are to buy when you need one or two for some special dessert but you lose sight of their value when you have buckets of them. We haven’t eaten all the passionfruit jam and syrup I made last year so I had decided not to make any more. What to do with them?
This year, I gave up worrying about all the citrus fruit we had and just put it in the compost bin… but I couldn’t do that with the passionfruit. There is something special about passionfruit. Every Australian loves them. They are part of our national psyche. No pavlova is complete unless smothered in passionfruit pulp.
Maus’ nephew, Damian, his wife, Bri, and their son, Casper, have just been visiting. Bri mentioned that she noticed our local kitchenware shop was selling passionfruit syrup for a hefty price.
I had a brainwave. I would make passionfruit syrup and passionfruit jam and sell it at my Easter stall.
What a bloody stupid idea that was!!!. No one is ever going to get rich selling home made produce. This is all very well if you are have fun making it (like my soap) but it is a different story when it is a tortuous ordeal (like making passionfruit syrup and jam).
Instead of spending the day cleaning the house in readiness for our departure to Perth, Maus and I spent the day in the kitchen. I used my previously posted recipes. My passionfruit syrup recipe is my most popular post by far. The passionfruit jam recipe is also popular. As I said, there is something “special” about passionfruit.
I proceeded to get passionfruit pulp and sugar from one end of the kitchen to the other. I used every pot I own and nearly every utensil.
Maus spent several hours scraping labels off jars (why do manufacturers make it so hard to get their labels off?). She then spent the rest of the day washing dishes as I messed them.
All went well with the syrup until I decided to strain it. Because I intend to sell it, I thought it would look nicer strained (it does) but the first (and second) strainers I used were too fine. They kept clogging up. It took minutes to fill one jar. We ended up with three sieves to wash and passionfruit syrup all over us and the kitchen.
The jam was more problematic. I burnt the bottom of one pot trying to get the jam to reach 105°C. I had to transfer to a clean pot, making sure not to catch any of the burnt bits. When the second pot started to stick (still not 105°C) I decided to bottle any way. When I finally got it into the jars and it cooled, it was way too firm.
Maus spent her news-watching time scraping the jam out of the jars whilst I scooped out more passionfruit pulp and put it through the electric mouli (the very one that Maus had just washed and put away). I re-washed and rinsed and sterilised the jars. I mixed the extra pulp into the jam and stirred it (so it wouldn’t stick again) until it boiled.
We then washed dishes all over again. By 10:00pm, most of the dishes were done and the burnt jam scraped off the pots.
I have 26 jars of produce. In the best case scenario, that is $130. I tell you, it just ain’t worth it!!. I told Maus the next time I have the silly idea of making preserves to sell at a market, just remind me I am not very good at making jam and it is not worth the effort. She assured me she would.
Oh! How I wish I could have had put those passionfruit into the compost bin.