Tuesday, 22 December 2009

"It smells like Christmas"

We have an apricot tree that is currently loaded with fruit. Some of it has been given away to friends and neighbours. We are eating as many ripe apricots as we dare. I am also cooking and freezing some.
It is a relatively simple process. Cut in halves, remove stone and remove any serious blemishes. Put in a saucepan with a little water and a little sugar. Cook until tender. Remove from stove. Cool, pack in the little freezer containers and freeze. I will do the same for the plums later - if there are any plums. Last year both the apricots and the plums 'cooked' on the tree.
There is something about all this cooking and freezing of fruit that says it is Christmas in Australia. Christmas here does not, for me, smell of turkey or goose or any other bird. It does not smell of plum pudding or mince pies. It is fruit. The smell of warm tomatoes reminds me vividly of sitting on the floor under the table in our house in Riverton. I would, naturally, be reading while my mother and grandmother preserved tomatoes or apricots or peaches or some other fruit from our garden or the garden of a neighbour. There was very little tinned fruit used in our house.
Smells or perfumes do evoke memories. My first year in London I ventured, at last, into Oxford Street. I went into one of the big stores there only to discover that it was as if I had walked into the tiny 'deli' around the corner from my paternal grandparents' home. Both places used the same perfumed cleaning fluid.
It is time to cut some fresh lavender and bring it in. This will go into the big blue glass jug my aunt gave my mother many years ago. It will stay there all year and gradually dry out. It is our apology for fresh flowers in the house. I like flowers but I like them much better in gardens than in the house. The perfume of the lavender however will be there for some time.
Now though I can go outside and return and the air will be a rich, warm apricot flavour. It smells like Christmas Downunder.


Tony said...

Still waiting for our apricots to ripen (and hoping there's no big storm before that time...).

Just remembered that Christamas Eve's going to be rainy and windy :(

catdownunder said...

Yes, it is supposed to rain here on Thursday - but 40'C tomorrow. Ugh! Hope it does not damage your apricots too much!

virtualquilter said...

Yes, all the apricot trees in the state just know that they need to ripen, and so need to be preserved in some way, in the week leading up to Christmas, and on Christmas Day itself.
Perhaps that is why I don't like apricots ....... slaving away cutting apricots on Christmas Eve while the turkey was in the oven of the wood stove .... so hot!
Judy B

catdownunder said...

You get one of your children (or, in my case, a sibling) to marry a Greek. They include you in the family. The men cook a BBQ and you do not have to worry about the turkey!