You go up to the allotment in the late afternoon and everything is bursting with juice. The scent of the strawberry patch makes it impossible to walk past without stuffing yourself to the point of queasiness. So once you’ve reached the point of no more eating you pick and you pick and fill a big Tupperware container with strawberries, raspberries, tayberries. How beautiful and glistening they are. You take a picture of them for twitter and get some virtual applause for owning such very fine berries, then you wash them and pick the wriggling things off of them and all have big bowls of them with ice cream after tea. Then there’s still loads left so you pop them in the fridge and all eat them with yoghurt for a breakfast so healthy and seasonal and gorgeous. But – oh – there’s STILL loads left that evening and now they’re not quite so tempting, plus you’ve really eaten quite a lot of strawberries in the last 24 hours. You’ll just leave them sitting there in the fridge, for tomorrow. By then the ones closest to the back have got a bit too cold and developed severe mush all down one side, the others look a bit pale and troubled. You show them to the children and they pull faces. You dont even consider showing them to twitter.
It seems criminal for any home-grown berry that once aromatically wafted across your entire plot to end up on the compost heap, and so last night I mined the fridge for these nearly-gruesome bits of pre-compost, put them in a pan, added a couple of spoonfuls of vanilla sugar plus an old vanilla pod fished out of it and the juice of about half a lime, and simmered for about ten minutes before switching it off to cool (this is not actually jam of course, probably more compote, and it wouldn’t last if jarred, but it only had to last until the morning and the kids are more likely to eat jam than compote, so jam it was named). I then made drop scone mix, covered both with cling film, and went to sleep. This morning we breakfasted like kings, queens, princes, and really quite stroppy little princesses (despite the fact that her mother had gone to all that trouble).