One of the unexpected things that came along with buying this house was a backyard that wasn’t typical. It’s a bit on the small side, but the most unusual part of it is the abundance of fruit. The previous owners were apparently fruit-crazy because here’s what we’ve got:
- 3 peach trees
- 2 plum trees
- an apple tree
- a cherry tree
- 2 or 3 Asian pear trees
- countless raspberry and blueberry bushes
- a large grapevine draped over the back deck
Having never had an outdoor space before (except when I lived with my parents, but that doesn’t count because I didn’t have to maintain it), this has been simultaneously very cool and very overwhelming. I have to admit that I have no idea how to take care of all of this fruit, but I’ve started doing some research and will hopefully continue to learn so that by the time next summer rolls around, I’ll have things a little more under control.
So far, we’ve picked a whole lot of plums, after which I decided to freeze all of them.
Despite being a vegetarian, I don’t generally find that I love fruit. I’ll eat it, but I never crave it. So when all those plums were sitting on our counter in the kitchen, they pretty much just sat there. Instead of letting them go bad, here’s what I did to preserve them:
1. After picking all the plums and bringing them inside, I filled up a big bowl of water mixed with a few tablespoons of vinegar, and let them sit. Vinegar acts as a more natural cleaning agent. They sat for 15 minutes and then I took each one out individually and ran them under water while scrubbing with my hands, then laid them out on a paper towel to dry.
2. The next step is to make sure they’re ripe enough. For the plums, I judged by the color and smell. If they were a deep red, I knew they were pretty ripe. The unripe ones were more of a yellow/green color.
3. I sliced up each ripe plum and put them onto a large baking sheet, sprinkling them with a little bit of lemon juice to prevent discoloration.
4. The baking sheets then went into the freezer for about an hour.
5. At this point, you just take the frozen plum pieces off the baking sheet and throw them into a well-sealed ziplock bag and you’re all set!
I figure that I’ll end up using the frozen plums in smoothies (though I’ve never before tried a plum smoothie, it sounds pretty tasty!), and now that they’re frozen, there’s no longer such a short time limit on their shelf life.
Right now, the peaches and apples are starting to come into full bloom so I imagine I’ll end up doing something similar with the peaches, while the apples will probably be destined for pies, especially as we get closer to the holiday seasons.
Have you ever grown any fruit? Ever try a plum smoothie?