August is a wonderful month in Estonia. The fruit trees in gardens are full with fruit. The greenhouses are full of ripening tomatoes. The farmer's market is so rich in colours and smells and tastes (you are allowed to ask to try a pickle), that even an ordinary cabbage seems tempting.
My favourite fruit/berry is apricot. Followed by raspberry. Followed by cherry. Then yellow egg-shaped plum, then purple plum, then nectarine, then ... As you can see, of all kinds of fruits, I like the stone fruits best. Of course, bananas, oranges, lemons and strawberries are also good, but stone fruits are my favourites. Maybe peaches a bit less, because of the hairy skin ... but that peels off, right?
This week, we picked damson plums in my parents' garden. Always trying to be a lady, I climbed the tree, wearing my good go-to-the-office skirt. :) No heels, though, my mom lent me her gardening shoes. Although I have climbed trees wearing heels, it depends on shoes. This summer's shoes are just no good for it. We got a bucketful of damson plums and the next day I spent 4 not-so-happy hours, cutting out the stones. The sort of damsons that my parents have, is nice and ripe for about 4 hours. Before that it is tasty, but hard and sticks close to the stone. After these 4 hours it starts getting yucky, so it is really hard to find the right time (and of course every plum on a tree has a different time-slot). Mostly I just had to cut out the stones. Then I made two kinds of jams - pure damson jam and damson with dried apricots.
Today my mother bought me 10 lbs of mirabelle plums. Apparently, some people have so much of them that they give them away for very nearly nothing. I would love to have a mirabelle tree in the garden, but nobody sells them, the plant-sellers all say that everybody has them and nobody wants any. Anyway, ours came from the market and I made 13 jars of mirabelle preserves. They taste very sour, even in syrup, but we just need to add more sugar to get the taste right, just like I remember from my childhood. In Provence 5 years ago we stayed in a camping under a mirabelle tree and the plums kept falling on our tent - so we had a nice snack of them and they were not sour at all. Probably a different sort or just the wonderfully sunny climate of France ...
We also have made apple juice, bell pepper preserves, pickles and applesauce this month. Every few days I go to the garden with an empty basket and I come back with a full one - tomatoes, peas, carrots, leek, zucchini and beans. It seems like vegetarian heaven. There are pumpkins, too, but these are still too young and tender, I only pet them and let them grow. Lillebror keeps asking if there will be enough pumpkin for pumpkin-coconut cake. :) The only problem in August is that the school year will start very soon.