The strange 'vintage' of 2020
By Sofia, Jun 22 2020 04:40PM
As green as the island is this year - abundant with herbs and leafy forage - there is scarcity of fruit. Strange that! Few here would give serious attention to preserving mulberries and Mirabella plums. Normally the glut of these in the spring verges on nuisance; this year they are sparse. Lemons we take for granted. There is an all-around-the-year supply, and of different varieties at that; this year they are sparse.
On my day out for herbs, I was pleased to come across a lone Mirabella plum tree and a couple of sour cherry trees laden with fruit in an otherwise bare fruit orchard. Such is the rarity of the supply situation and coming across these fruit trees that it would have been a sacrilege to turn down obviously a gift of nature.
I've given up making jams long ago, and give preference to honey if a sweetener commodity is needed nowadays. Friends who make jams are much better at it and give me a jar now and then. I am not fond of chutneys and they are the last of preferences for me to make. With a supply of fruit and veg and good choice of spices, recently restocked, they are handy to have to give as gifts.
Having harvested some of the fruit, I stopped on my way at the MONI monastery to ask the kind nun there if she had lemons on her tree. She did and gave me three giant ones which probably equal nine of normal sizes! The fruit and one lemon made 4 kg of chutney: 3kg to add to my cupboard which has jams and chutneys dating back to 2014, and 1kg to give away.
It'll be good to have in my stocks a memory of this shared-by-all-strange 'vintage' of 2020!