Sunday, December 6, 2009
The Great Tree Shake Down--Apples, Pears, and Pineapple Guavas
The past 72 hours have been a jam making and canning blitz!
First, a final harvest of a neighbor's pineapple guava tree. It was a duck and cover operation--a firm shake down of the tree brought pineapple guavas raining down throughout the yard.
Pineapple guavas are a fantastic fruit--small and oval with a tart green peel and a soft, gelatinous, whitish flesh. You can actually eat the whole thing, although most people prefer just the sweeter inside flesh. The flavor is like other varieties of guava but the texture is part banana. I've been experimenting with both jam (inside flesh only) and marmalade (peel and flesh). This harvest yielded a dozen jars of creamy jam.
Then, a trip to a friend's land up in the Anderson Valley. Fall in the Valley is thick with the smells of ripe apples and wood smoke. Two old apple trees provided a few bushel baskets of windfall (with a little help from another generous shake-down).
We cranked out the cider press and sampled the range of juices the different apples produced--from sugar sweet to tart.
The fresh pressed cider makes a great juice for canning so I made a trip across the road to a larger orchard for pears, added a little lemon juice, cinnamon sticks and orange zest, and canned two dozen jars of cider poached pears. Delicious!