During the year imported stone fruit is available, but I can never be bothered with it. Picked early, cool stored, ripened, chilled, then transported across the globe, the fruit's natural flavours and textures are jetlagged beyond recognition. Eating them bears little comparison to picking a ripe fruit from the tree on a sunny day, and leaning forward as the juice runs down your chin.
New Zealand stone fruit is now well in season and at its best. Towards the end of the season, you can buy bargain boxes for preserving, bottling or turning into jams, sauces and chutneys. This used to be carried out on a major scale in many home kitchens, often in soaring summer temperatures. Agee jars would be lined up on pantry shelves full of the summer's crop , ready to use for winter puddings. This was done in the interests of economy. These days it is not necessarily so cheap to do all this preserving. You can, however, share the pride felt by homemakers of previous generations as they displayed their neatly arranged shelves.
You will also get gold stars for serving the results of your kitchen labour in summer throughout the year.By Grant Allen