Thursday, February 05, 2015

Botany and Butterflies: Apple Jam

Back when Thatboy and I were young and carefree we spent a lot of time at Balboa Park.  Even though it's the perfect atmosphere for families, we really haven't taken advantage of it with Thatkid.  When we visited the Botanical Building in San Francisco, I realized we should really head over to our local version.  Especially since Thatkid loved looking at all the plants and flowers.

Last weekend, we packed another picnic lunch and headed over to our Botanical Building. 

The setting is one of the most picturesque in the park, with a reflecting pool leading to the building.  Filled with ducks, fish, and while we were there, an egret.

After taking in the wildlife we headed in to the view the foliage.

As I said, it's been years since we've visited, so I don't know if it's permanent or just a temporary exhibit, but right now there is an amazing display of orchids.  More varieties and more orchids than I have ever seen outside of an orchard farm in Hawaii.

 Thatkid delighted in pointing each one out - "Look at THIS flower! Look at THIS flower!  I like this pink flower."  He led us on a tour through the building.   We spent some time at the "stop and smell" exhibit, filled with fragrant herbs and plants.  A sign invited us to rub the leaves between our fingers and smell.  So we did.

When we had our fill of plants, we headed outside.  There are trees on other side of the building with notes about not disturbing the caterpillars and butterflies.  I noticed this on our way in, but we didn't stop to examine.  On the way out, we did.  And I am so glad we did.

We were able to see the entire cycle of the monarch butterfly on the trees.  There were the caterpillars:

All sorts of chrysalis (chrysali?) ranging from the bright green new cocoons to ones who looked like they were just about to burst open with new life.

 And of course, the butterflies themselves.  Some which appeared to have just emerged from their chrysalis (chrysali?) and others flitting through the leaves.

I've been breaking out of my own cocoon lately.  Since I discovered how easy it was to make jam, I've been a jam making fool.  I don't know that I'll ever buy it again.  I was under the impression it was a time consuming, difficult process, that made a ton of product.  I was wrong on all counts.  Really, it's as easy as applesauce.  And when you use apples, the ingredients are exactly the same - apples and sugar.  Like what you put in pie.  And you've probably heard the phrase easy as pie, right?

Apple Jam (From the Fannie Farmer Cookbook)
2 cups of peeled, cored, and chopped apple
3/4 cup sugar
  1. Cook the apple until tender, adding enough water to prevent burning.
  2. Add sugar to the fruit, stirring until it dissolves.  Boil rapidly until thick.  Pour into hot sterilized jars and seal.

1 comment:

  1. I think I was scarred from jam-making after having to make a ton for wedding favors...give me at least a year and then I'm sure I'll be back at it. :P