During last summer I spent a few hours picking fresh wild fruit near where we live. It started as a wild blackberry pick but grew to include apples and plums. It was surprising the bounty for very little energy, time and no cost. In the summer of 2016 we had heavy spring and summer rains and I believe this is part of the reason for the high quantity and quality of the fruits. Another benefit from this windfall is that the fruit was no-spray as the locations were not near commercial crops in the area, but on roadside and public property. The juiciness and taste were an added bonus. Here are a few ideas on how to prepare and preserve your own garden apples, wild fruit, blackberries and other fruit from your garden or local farmer during the Fall months:
Using & Preserving of Apples:
- Canning Apple Sauce: Canned apple sauce is an ingredient in our Mincemeat Muffins Apple sauce is also used in low-fat baking as a sweetener and during winter months for desserts and dinner
- First solid baby food: puree apples are easily digestible for baby
- Apple Platz or Kuchen : There are many recipes for cooking apples from baking apples to good old apple pie. This platz recipe is cooked often using fresh apples, but a jar of apple sauce can be added with another whole, fresh fruit such as blackberries, peach slices, etc.
- Carrot & Fruit Juice: It is a treat to be able to naturally sweeten your daily juice with an apple or two. I use less than perfect apples in the juice to add a little sweetness
- Drying Apples: Due to the large amount available, drying apples has been a good way to use the surplus fruit, especially the fresh summer apples which do not store for a long period
- Speedy Fresh Apple Sauce: an all-time family favourite as it is easy to make up a batch for any meal. Loved by kids and adults alike: on breakfast cereal to start your day, as a dessert with Greek yoghurt or as a condiment for meat such as chicken
Apple Sauce Recipe
- 3 or 4 fresh and clean apples, peeled, cored and chopped
- Place apples in a medium size saucepan and add a small amount (1/4 – 1/2″) of water to cover bottom of pot (but not fruit). You can always add more water during cooking
- If your apples are a little tart, simply add one tablespoon each of Stevia and organic sugar
- Bring to boil, turn down heat and stir continuously for 5 minutes. Let cool before using. Delicious!
Apples are used extensively in our diets in baking, cooking and preserving and if you have the time and inclination there is always Apple Cider to try. A fresh raw apple from the tree is a true gourmet eating experience. Experiment and enjoy!
Using & Preserving of Wild Fruit:
- Canning Blackberries: How to can your blackberries is outlined in Why You Should be Wild about Blackberries as well as many more uses of this healthy fruit. Canned berries can be used in your daily juice or smoothie and adds a crisp flavour
- Canned Blackberry Juice: Supply and time permitting, canned wild blackberry juice mixed with soda is a refreshing drink any time of year.
- Drying Blackberries: Yes, you can. Blackberries can be dried whole but the processing takes a while and I prefer to freeze the berries.
- Blackberries are another versatile fruit used in many recipes including the following smoothie courtesy of Oh She Glows Cookbook:
Recipe for Blackberry Smoothie:
- 45 grams rolled oats
- 200 grams blackberries
- 100 grams low-fat plain yoghurt
- 125 ml low-fat milk
- 125 ml water
- Blend together and serve.
- Above ingredients are for one person. It takes 5 minutes and is super easy.
Uses & Preserving of Plums
The fruits are extremely versatile with other uses not mentioned above, besides fresh eating, is:
- Jam: There are a multitude of recipes and combinations such as plum and apple, apple and rhubarb, blackberry jelly
- Plums can be stewed or baked and are great mixed with other fresh fruit in pies and other baking
- Plum Sauce or Chutney:
Recipe for Plum Sauce from Plum Jam:
- Small jar plum jam of jelly (1 cup or 8 oz)
- One tablespoon each of the following 2 ingredients:
- White vinegar
- Brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon minced onion
- Small clove garlic – minced
- 1/4 teaspoon dry ground ginger
- Combine all the above ingredients in small saucepan. Bring to boil stirring continuously.
- Remove and serve with chicken, pork or egg rolls
- Fresh picked fruit often has a higher water content and nutritional value. Process as soon as possible
- We recently planted an Italian Plum in our veggie garden
Fresh fruit in season is always a great first choice but this year the wild fruit has been disease-free with no bugs. There is an abundance both in the home garden and wild; and good quality. All in all, a super satisfying experience both the picking and the preparing. Why not give it a try.