Notes from Windward: #70
The Harvest Begins
August 18th, 2010
As our own trees and berries spend their energy better establishing their root systems rather than putting on flowers and fruit, we continue to take advantage of the wild and naturalized fruit that grows abundantly throughout the county. It is that time of year when we rarely leave home without a bucket for gathering plums or a container to hold blackberries. Although, the gathered fruit will change color and tastes as the weeks go on, its abundance will likely last through November which will keep us busy in the kitchen canning and drying.
Celeste picking apples along the Klickitat
On the days when this hillside seems oppressively hot, we have been finding our way down to the Klickitat and Columbia where there is an abundance of fruit, it is often several degrees cooler and there are many an inviting swimming hole to be jumped in. We are primarily making the blackberries into jam, but also freezing some and pureeing still more to turn into fruit leather.
Over this past week, we have brought home several 5 gallon buckets of Italian plums, peach plums, Gravenstein and Yellow Transparent apples and even pears (I was surprised yet delighted to find ripe pears yesterday afternoon on a tree down by the Klickitat).
Charlie Dog helps pick up pears
All this fruit has enabled us to put to good use the solar dehydrator Andrew and I built earlier this summer. It is working quite well so far, herbs and greens dry in one full day of sun, while juicier items such as plums and fruit leathers take a few days to dry sufficiently.
our latest solar dehydrator
While I miss the aroma that would permeate the kitchen when the electric dehydrator would be on, almost continually this time of year, drying whatever fruit we had brought home that day, I am glad to be using the sun's energy more directly and certainly do not miss the extra heat the dehydrator added to the kitchen. With this week's gatherings we will be making some pear-elderberry sauce, plum chutney and some to-be-decided delectable apple concoction.
Lindsay and Andrew picking plums
Notes From Windward - Index - Vol. 70