Wang Dang, sweet fruit tang…
I’m dating myself again, I like Ted Nugent, too.
Ahhh, fruit what can I say? Everybody likes fruit in one form or another. We eat a lot of fruit. Breakfast, lunch and dinner, it seems like we never have enough. We buy extra fruit of different kinds that don’t grow well here, like apricots, nectarines and peaches. Our fruit season starts with rhubarb, and ends with winter apples.
I can fruit for quick snacks and lunches, and I freeze fruit for pies, crisps, cobblers and smoothies. We also eat a lot of frozen fruit when it is half thawed out, in that state, it is like how I wished popsicles tasted as a kid. Sometimes, the frozen fruit becomes jam later, when I have more time. We try to grow as much as we can, but we never turn down a good deal on fruit.
Berries grow well here, and the woods are full of blackberries, red and black huckleberries, black raspberries, thimble berries, and salmon berries. Most we just eat as we find them, except the blackberries, which we try to pick enough for the freezer, since they are everywhere anyway.
The dreaded Himalayan Blackberry!
These babies are done. This is Meeker, it puts on a large crop for processing. We put up 36 quarts for the freezer. This is probably our favorite berry. We have a small row of ever bearing raspberries that I cut down in the spring and they produce a fall crop for fresh eating.
Elizabeth blueberries. We have several varieties of blueberries that ripen over the season. Ivanhoe and Elizabeth have the best flavor, but Jersey and Bluecrop are very productive, so if your space is limited, you have to decide what quality you want most in a berry. So far, we have frozen 32 quarts.
Berries are the easiest to process, no washing, just pop in the freezer and you’re done. If you are growing your own, or even picking at a u-pick farm, the berries shouldn’t need washing.
My girlfriend in grade school lived on a blueberry farm. After picking, our job was to clean the blueberries and get them ready for the commercial accounts. They had a V-shaped trough, that was slanted and covered with a sheet. We would pour the berry bumpers out on the trough and the berries would roll down into crates. The sheet would attract blossom ends and leaves, and the berries would be clean and ready for the store.
Pacific berries, these are an experimental cross from the 50′s, that never took off commercially. Now the Marionberry is the sought after berry. But, I got these from my gardening mentors, and I want to keep these going. They are hard to grow, not liking any kind of human intervention or training. These have climbed into the blueberry bushes, so I have left them. The flavor is amazing, similar to the Pacific Trailing wild dewberry. The only thing is finding a dog that will help you detect ripe ones. Thanks Trace
Italian Prune. IMHO the best prune for drying. These are good canned too. I would rather eat them than candy, and that is saying a lot.
Northern Spy. Good eating, cooking, and keeping apple.
Remember those little sticks? Here they are! The apples and pears are doing good. The cherries were a total failure. Oh well, next year… .
Bartlett Pears. Our wet spring weather sometimes prevents pollination of pears, apples and prunes. When we have a good crop, I can, freeze or dry all that we have. It may be several years before we get a good fruit set, and canned fruit will keep for several years.
Annanasnaja Hardy Kiwi. These are hardy to -25 F. Very productive with an unusual flavor.
Last year I made jam from them, following the Ball Blue Book recipe. Before I processed the jam, I tasted it, and it was so-so. I was going to feed it to the pigs. I felt sorry for all the people I had given it to for Christmas. Before giving it to the pigs, I tasted it the other day.
I MADE A MISTAKE!! It is great. Sorry pigs
The Christmas cabinet. The green snot-like jars are the kiwi jam. (Maybe I should come up with a better description.) I will make more, it tasted so good.
Tettnanger hops. Not technically fruit, but they need picking so I included them. Good for the obvious, and sleep pillows too.
This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means, but gives you an idea of the diversity of our fruit supply. If you’re planning your fruit supply, or orchard, pick different varieties of each fruit that will allow you to pick fruit over an extended period. You will want types that are good for preserving and types that are good for fresh eating. And, if you plant a broad array of fruit, if you have a bad year for pollination, at least you will have something.