This was (snif, sob!) our third summer in the gorgeous space I am so thrilled to be able to call my home. The previous owners were an older Italian couple who had raised their family here and what we got with the house was a huge, very fertile garden plot that I have sadly left to nature, and some amazingly productive fruit trees.
The grapes have been truly wonderful. I learned last year that these tiny green globes of perfection, with their tender skin, are not ready for picking until around the second week in August. This year we got an abundant yield, at least three huge stainless mixing bowls worth. We gave a lot away.
The tall, spindly plum tree with its weird cancers produced a handful of plums the first year, but a woodland creature got to them first. Last year nothing happened and I'd considered trying to organize myself to get it cut down, but I am happy I didn't as this year it's covered in plums. I picked a bunch today, though apparently you are meant to shake them off. But the lawn is covered in rotting fruit that's challenging to navigate, so I only picked the plums that willingly parted from the branch with gentle coaxing.
I haven't tasted these mini yellow plums yet, so stay tuned. They're not like anything I have ever seen in a grocery store.
As for the pear tree, I'd also pretty much written it off as for the last two summers the pears rotted from the inside before we could get them off the tree.
There's surprisingly little helpful information on the net about pear trees and their needs. What I did learn is that if left to ripen on the tree they will rot. They need to be picked green, and the ones that are ready to be picked are those that pop off easily when the pear is angled against the branch.
Also, I read somewhere that pears need to be shocked in the fridge for a few days. Something happens when they are cooled that allows them to ripen evenly. Worth a shot, right?
So I put a few batches in the fridge last week, and as of today only one or two are ripe, but I am thrilled to report that they did not rot in the middle!
So now the question is, living by the motto "waste not, want not", what the heck do I do with tons and tons of pears? Canning is the obvious choice, but I am not there yet. I plan to tackle canning next summer, in my shiny new kitchen.
I will make crumbles and freeze them, and after we pick apples next week I'll make loads of apple pear sauce, but I need suggestions as to what to do with all my pears!