We emerged the victors this morning after our battle in the orchard with ants and birds. About half of the fruit on the trees is part-eaten by birds, which is fine with us as there is no way we can eat it all. But we will make a good attempt at the rest. Picking the fruit, though, brings is into contact with the tiniest bitiest ants I have ever known, and they are worst on the apricot tree. The apricots are almost finished, but we picked one bowlful. The bounty also included peaches, paraguayas [above] and pears. Overall, the pears and apples are not ready. They look ready, the pears have a lovely peachy glow to them, but the stems did not want to part from the tree, so we have left them and hope to get them before the birds. Each tree is surrounded by a fringe of dropped, partially eaten fruit. When we first lived here, I hated this waste. But I understand now that the fallen fruit is not wasted. Birds eat it, ants and wasps eat it [okay, it’s wasted on the wasps], and small mammals eat the fruit on the ground… rodents, foxes, martens, weasels. And we are happy to feed the wild animals. Now the next task is to convert the fruit into food.
Our favourite preserving methods are:-
Fruit crumbles, to be frozen;
Fruit pies, to be frozen;
Fruit cakes, to be frozen;
Fruit tarts, to be frozen;
Poached fruit with vanilla, to be frozen, and eaten for breakfast or pudding with Greek yogurt;
Stewed fruit, cooked until it is thick, to be frozen and eaten as fruit sauce with ice cream.
We will eat the ripest cleanest fruit fresh, sometimes for supper. A pear with a slice of blue cheese. A peach grilled with a little vanilla ice cream. Off to start baking now… there’s bowls and bowls of fruit to use up. 5 to remember
una redada – a haul
el huerto – the orchard
los vencedores – the victors
total – overall
un fleco – a fringe