One advantage of the children getting a little older is that they can be put to work in the foraging season - here's Xanthe hard at it in the kitchen.
On Saturday we went out on our annual cherry plum harvest, I know everyone else seems to have been picking them for weeks already, but our usual spot is in the shady side of a very tall hedge and they seem to ripen later. For a change it was a gloriously sunny day (most previous trips to this location have involved wellies and pack a macs), the children decided to scamper off into the 'hedge' which is actually a narrow strip of woodland running along the back of the Diss Rugby club ground, but Adam summoned them back to pull their weight in the fruit harvest.
We've refined our technique after last year's marathon bullace harvest and went for a 'shake the tree' method rather than the 'selective use of the apple picker' method. Adam extended the apple picker to it's full length, wedged it onto a branch and shook like mad. The resulting monsoon of cherry plums and yellow bullace sent the girls into shrieking paroxms of delight - at least until Xanthe was hit squarely in the eye by a large cherry plum. After that we stood well back while the fruit bounced down on Adam's head.
Once the road was carpeted with fruit, the children were required to help, we all rushed around around frantically picking them up before any cars came along. It's a teeny tiny single track country road so cars aren't frequent, I think we only saw 3, but they do seem to come along just at the wrong moment and squash the maximum number of plums. We also had our annual "yes you can eat them" conversation with passing walkers who never seem quite convinced and refuse our offers to try one.
Yesterday I made our household favourite, Cherry Plum Cordial (made 4 bottles, one half used already) and today I'm going to try and amalgamate my Cherry Plum Chutney recipe with myPlum Ketchup recipe which should be an interesting experiment. I'm hoping it turns out a bit like HP sauce.
We picked 3 kilos of cherry plums and 4 of yellow bullace but I don't think it's enough! We're on holiday next week but I'm hoping to pick some more at the weekend and stash them in the freezer for processing when we get home.