My elderly neighbor gets a kick out of us. I'm not really sure what she thinks….. but she comes over just to see what we're up to. We'll have peaches boiling in a hot water bath and pounds upon pounds of tomatoes that we're blanching to peel in a big cooler full of ice. "People don't do this anymore," she'll say. And I know she's especially surprised at Joe's involvement with the process. Putting food up is a family affair around here.
So now she keeps an eye out for other neighbor's fruit trees that have unwanted fruit falling on the ground. She might be playing bridge with friends and someone will be grumbling about all the limes they're cleaning up and the next thing you know she's bringing us bags upon bags of limes. Or lemons. Or persimmons. And now kumquats.
"I got a neighbor that does all that canning stuff," she tells people in her thick cajun accent, "she'll pick that fruit for ya."
And so she stops by and tells me, "go knock on the door, over there, tell 'em I sent ya."
And so I muster up some courage, collect some baskets and cute children (we've got plenty of both) and I head down the street or over a block and pick a whole tree full of unwanted kumquats. The kids & I have eaten so many our mouths are sore. They taste like sunshine. And they were just the excuse I needed to buy this book, which has a kumquat preserve recipe in it. Guess what I'll be doing Saturday?