August 22, 2007 1:42 PM   Subscribe

I have two fruit trees that seem to be ripening ...NOW. One is an apple tree and the other tree is a plum. I already know about making jam (which is what I'll probably do with the plums) and making apple butter/sauce. I have a few questions:

- What should I do with the fruit that isn't usable (bugs, birds, too ripe, etc.)? I have a compost bin. I doubt I can just chuck the whole fruit in there. I should at least pit the plums, right? Cut the fruit up into smaller bits? Any other disposal tips would be great.

- Can I clean and semi-process the fruit (skin, pit, slice up, etc.) and freeze the slices for later jamming and saucing? If I can do this, should I use heavy-duty freezer bags? Space is not a problem; I have a large deep freeze.

- Do y'all have any other ideas/recipes for plums and apples? Please share!

Please note: I'm not totally ignorant about canning, but it's been about 25 years since I canned anything except pickles.
posted by deborah to Home & Garden (6 answers total)
Make plum or apple wine.
Make a still and make plum or apple brandy.

Compost the whole fruit. If your compost heap is large enough and active enough, the amount of mass and the pits should not matter.
posted by Seamus at 2:03 PM on August 22, 2007

I can only answer your freezing question, but yes you can. My mom used to do this with the peaches from our tree. Clean, slice, put in tupperware, freeze. I think she might have labeled them so she knew how long they'd been in there. I can't remember how long they kept for, but I know it was a really long time.
posted by MsMolly at 2:13 PM on August 22, 2007

Both are delicious salad additions, especially when you also add some goat cheese or brie.
posted by paleography at 2:18 PM on August 22, 2007

You can compost whole, but they will break down much faster if they're cut up. Don't worry about the pits, they'll break down surprisingly fast.

You can definitely clean, core, slice the fruit, and then freeze. The less exposure to oxygen in the freezer, the better. If you have a vacuum machine (like a Foodsaver), then freeze the slices on a cookie sheet first, and put then vacuum pack the frozen slices. Alternatively, load the frozen slices in heavy duty Ziplocs and press as much air out as possible. I actually make whole apple pies (not yet cooked) and freeze in disposable pie plates, wrapped tight. Then, just pop the frozen pies out and bake for a little over an hour at 375F.

I make lots of apple sauce and freeze it (in freezer bags, mostly). If you cook the sauce down so that it's like a butter, you can use it instead of half of the fat in a baking recipe. Saves lots of calories that way.

I also dry the apple slices (300F on a cookie sheet for an hour or so) and the kids can eat them for snacks. If you're decadent, you can fry them and then dry them. Crispy.

As for the plums, you can poach them whole in simple sugar syrup (1 to 1 sugar-water), then load into bags and freeze. They'll be great on ice cream. Add some liqueur to the cooking liquid (like framboise), and they'll be divine.
posted by Flakypastry at 2:41 PM on August 22, 2007

How many apples are you likely to have? They're largely solids, with less liquid in 'em than you'd think, so it takes a lot to make cider/wine. Using a rented hand press, I have found that it takes about 20 lbs of apples to yield a gallon of juice (call it 2.5 kg / liter). Taking your fruit to a professional hydraulic press can double that yield.

If you do press the fruit, your solids become pomace, a mushy apple slurry. You're in B.C.? Morel mushrooms grow around there, yes? Speading the pomace beneath a hedge may encourage them to grow. It did for me, and we've harvested some awesome morels in the years after we spread pomace in the backyard :) Otherwise, the pomace will compost just fine. If you have a chipper, I'd feed it the windfalls to make them compost faster.

All this said, you generally want a blend of different apples for your cider—there are very few single-varietal ciders that are any good—but it's definitely worth a try. Free booze! And remember, if the cider doesn't turn out so tasty you can always turn it into vinegar (if it doesn't do so itself).

Oh, and if you were to distill your cider, you'd probably find that a 5 gallon carboy would yield about 500ml of apple brandy. Not a lot.
posted by mumkin at 2:52 PM on August 22, 2007 [1 favorite]

Cool; I have quinces, which we never use; maybe I can encourage mushrooms.

Apples can be kept in a cool dry place for quite a while. Use them up in apple crisp & apple pie. You'll find that practice makes you a lot faster at peeling & coring, or get an apple peeler from LLBean. In the U.S, I'd recommend calling the Cooperative Extension Office nearest you for apple storage advice.

To google How to Store Apples, I had to add - Mac, but got 2 good hits.

I'd compost any useless fruit as is. You might have to pick out some pits, but it won't be a big deal. They'll compost pretty fast; at least my apples peelings & cores from pie-making always do.
posted by theora55 at 5:39 PM on August 22, 2007

« Older Hanging in the Kingdom of Bahrain   |   No blinkers around Philly? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.