So Much Fruit, So Little Time


Karrie SteelyIt seems like I’ve spent a good part of the summer picking, eating and preserving fruits. There is an abundance wild and domestic fruit here in this part of Nebraska, and I’ve been fascinated by it all summer. Every time I turn around something else is ripe. The season started with mulberries, currants, choke cherries and elderberries. In the past few weeks it was pears, then wild plums, and lots of watermelon.

pear tree 

A woman in town has an old pear tree that was dripping with pears, and she invited me to come over and pick as many as I could. Even though she is in her 80s, she was canning those pears, a batch or two each day. I showed up with a five-gallon bucket and filled it up. 

pear cake pear butter 

I canned pear butter and brandied pears, and made paleo pear cake. I also fermented the peels and cores in a bucket for a week, then used the foaming yeasty liquid as my leavening for a pear sweetbread. (Note: If you use wild yeast, you have to let it rise longer than conventional yeast.) It was delicious. A few weeks after that I strained what was left of the pear peels and bottled it, leaving the solids to settle out. Now I have pear cider vinegar.

Plum tree 

9/23/2014 7:22:39 AM

Karrie, you are making my mouth water. I like the fact that some of your Winter harvest comes from foraging. Back in my early days of gardening, I would forage the Mulberries and elder berries. Old retired railroad tracks were the best place to forage. Some even had asparagus patches in the Spring for harvest. Now all those are gone due to civilization progress. There are still a few places to find roadside elderberries but I'm not sure if the county road service sprays weed spray along roadsides. Mulberries still abound every where and every year I have great intentions to harvest some and make jam but alas it's the peak of garden activity and it never gets done. ***** Have a great fruit harvest day.

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