I spent what is now the summer before last in Central Otago. The predominate association with Central Otago, for me anyway, is none other than it's divine Pinot noir. However, while I spent my days amidst the vines, my flatmates spent their days in the fruit packhouses of Alexandra, Cromwell, Clyde and Roxburgh.

Not that I didn't benefit from their toil. A few of the packhouses allow some fruit (that is for one reason or another unsuitable for shipping) to make its way back to the flats of the seasonal workers. Of course, we ate much of it fresh but there were also desserts.. courtesy of the communal Edmond's Cookbook. Even though many of the girls returned to ovenless apartments in Taiwan, there were still several copies of this New Zealand institution packed securely for the trip.

On days off (Waitangi Day) and weekends, various puddings were made (crumbles, sauces and cakes.. no fruit dessert was left out) regardless of the soaring Central temperatures! Thankfully, two good swimming holes on the Manuherikia were close by for a refreshing dip. There was, however, one evening near the middle of February, that was unseasonally cool. We'd had rain that day and when the humidity dropped, it left the evening feeling more like late autumn than summer. Now, I'm usually thinking about food and food projects but it was a girl from Japan who actually got me to (seriously) thinking about making jam. All she said was how she wished that she could take some fruit home with her. And of course, that's entirely possible. In the form of peach jam.

After a trip to New World for sugar, pectin crystals and a box of jars, we got to the business of peeling and dicing and washing and sterilising, all the while thinking about scones, pancakes and toast. Then, assembly line style, we made 4 small batches of the most gloriously golden peach jam (infused with a bit of ginger). We each got 3 jars (heavy little tokens from summer in Central) and a small pottle we put in the fridge for eating straight away.

Scones anyone?


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