Preserving fruit, an art form?

It is always quite exciting returning home to the farm after an absence to see what is happening and get on with new projects. My big new project is putting the new preserving unit to work and bottling some of the stone fruit harvest. I have done a bit of research on this, read the Fowler's Vacola instruction manual and several other books. I also saw Mathew Evans on a Gourmet Farmer   
 and it seemed to me all he did was pack the fruit in the jars, cover with water and add some sugar. This is the process I followed. I have to say my end result looked nothing like his!

Quite attractive though...

More research and practice is called for. clearly I need to put more fruit in the jars, I did think they were full but obviously could have packed much more in. I am going to try using a light sugar syrup next time as well. There is loads of fruit on the trees so plenty to practice with. The other thing that happened is that my preserving unit is in Fahrenheit not Celsius as I had assumed, so I was on the wrong temperature until I realised nothing was really happening. So I have a new respect for the process and now know that those beautiful jars of preserved fruit I have seen at shows and gourmet Deli's are the result of skill and art. I intend that mine will look like that by the end of summer!
The other excitement is that we have finally managed to get some ducklings hatched! Not sure how many, I have seen four so far, they are very cute and very big compared to the chickens and baby turkeys, they should be as they take 35 days to hatch.
Fifty mls of rain fell here while we were away, Eugowra flooded twice in the one day yesterday and many of the roads are cut. Our place is fine as we are not on the creek, but the village of Eugowra is certainly badly situated in regards to flooding. As all the dams are full and the soil saturated it will only take a small amount of rainfall to bring the creek into flood again and more rain is predicted until about March. Lets hope there is some good drying out weather in between falls.


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