Saturday, 5 September 2009
Glutton for punishment (and fruit)
After my busy day on Wednesday I spent Thursday continuing my bottling experiments - more of which anon. By Thursday afternoon the house was free of fruit (apart from the cherry plums in the freezer) so, naturally, on Friday I re-stocked.
A friend very kindly asked if I'd like to accompany him on a visit to his friend's house (friend of friend, with me so far?) with an actual orchard. I arrived bearing jam, chutney and chilli jelly by way of recompense but by the end of the visit that felt woefully inadequate compared to the bounty we left with.
The star of the show as far as I was concerned was a damson tree, groaning with achingly beautiful inky blue black fruit. It was here I discovered the advantage of a maintained orchard over foraged fruit. The grass around the tree is neatly trimmed and free of weeds, nettles etc and rotten fallen fruit is regularly removed. This meant all we had to do was shake the tree so that damsons rained down around us (the children adored this bit) and then we just picked them up off the floor with the children helping in a meaningful way for a change. I haven't weighed our crop yet as there's way more than our scales could cope with, I'm guessing at 6 kilos or so.
And that was just the start .....
Victoria Plums, 2 varieties of eating apple, bramleys and pears followed. A very productive afternoon all round.
My plans are to bottle the plums with spiced brandy (provided I can make this bottling thing work) pickle some damsons using a different method to the one I used the other day, more plum and elderberry crumble for Willow, damson and elderberry gin and umm ... more jam I guess!