Anyway, I have distracted myself- I could show you sewing in production, but that's not my plan, I am taking you on a little walk around my backyard and showing you some fruit (and nuts) that are in production.
Chestnuts- aren't they funny looking fellas! Many of the plants in our garden are not considered 'ornamentals' but seriously- I call them 'productive ornamentals'- because I think that they look great. And fruit tree blossom- oh my, how that makes me happy!
Pomegranates- I think I will have a go at making pomegranate molasses, or syrup this year- any one else made that before? If you have- any tips?
Quinces. I think I will go will 'quince jelly' as well as some in the Fowlers for later in the year. I'm keen on making quince jelly rather than paste because I just chop them all up (skins, pips- the whole shebang) and put them in a pot with a little bit of water, cover them with a lid and slowly simmer them till it's 'mooshy'. Strain through a 'jelly bag' overnight (I use a piece of muslin fabric)- then find a recipe that gives you a ratio of this liquid to sugar, and often I reduce the sugar a bit.
Some people find quince paste is dead easy to make but I reckon I was scarred for life (at least for a few years) when I made it and painstakingly stirred it for, I'm sure it was hours...as it thickened and thickened- and then, in the when it was so so close to being ready, it burnt (so really, that sentence should read- when it was actually over ready and should have been taken off the heat already!). I was abit beside myself! My friend has made it in the microwave and reckoned it was a cinch, but, like I said, I am not up for trying it again just yet!
Apples. I realised my children were spoilt for (some types of) fruit when we had friends from the city stay with us and we were picking apples and pears- our kids would walk along, pick one, if it wasn't 'to their taste' (too sour, too floury, too tart, too dense- don't think I've ever heard a 'too sweet'!) they would piff in and pick another one. My friends children were looking on- in retrospect I realise they were waiting for me to pull out the 'don't waste fruit' lecture which was obviously familiar to them because as their mum cottoned on to the 'gee, if we chucked out an apple, we'd get in to trouble' looks that were being thrown around and I heard her talking about how it's okay because there are heaps of apples and it won't be wasted, really because the pigs will get to eat it!
Avocado. Yes, we have frosts and yes we can grow avocados. Some varieties do better in cold climates, but if you protect the tree for the first few years while it gets established. This is the first year this tree has fruited and it's got about 4 on it, I think. Well done tree.
Persimmon. I am generally happy to leave persimmons as an ornamental- although I really like them dried (possibly because of another scarred for life experience maybe). My grandma had a persimmon tree in her front yard when we were growing up and we did not know what it was- it was an astringent variety so if you tasted them too soon (before they were 'mooshy') our faces did involuntary contortions because, well, of the astringency- or as wikipedia would say, because of the 'dry, puckering mouthfeel'!
As an ornamental they are really amazing- they will get much more 'orangey' than this, the leaves will fall off the tree and (often) the garden won't have much colour- until you see the persimmons and can't help but smile! I often think they look like they are waiting to be sketched because they are so interesting.
Madarins. Just starting to ripen. Hurry up, I say, because these are a family favourite.
Kafir lime. We don't actually eat these but I wanted to include this photo so you can see the funny bumpy skin. I use the zest of these, and the leaves in cooking often combination with green chilli, coriander, fish sauce and coconut milk.
I mentioned that most of our garden doesn't have 'ornamentals'. One exception is the bulbs I mentioned in my last post- well, imagine my displeasure on Anzac Day when I got home from the Dawn Service (first one I have ever been to) and our six 'free range' pigs were 'free ranging' through my newly planted daffodils. Yes, it's happened before- but I didn't have lovingly planted bulbs then.
Oh- and because it's getting closer to the time of year when you plant bare rooted fruit trees, I should remind you that you can get them here, from us!