We also had a wonderful apricot tree when we moved here. Garden Del commented that she has an Apricot tree and I have been thinking about that! We lost our tree to a disease and I am so upset.
Having a fruit tree is so wonderful. And a huge asset. I look at it like this. We are trying to get ahead with our pantries and financially. A fruit tree equals money. It equals a whole row of jam or preserves in your pantry. You are not buying fruit and you can save that money. You can fill your freezer with pies, muffins, cakes and stewed fruit for winter.
You can shower people with the gift of a pie, jam and fresh fruit. It could also be a gift for a birthday.
When the church or school fete comes up you have jars of lovely jam to donate. You are ahead there too!
You have jars of jam towards hampers at Christmas.
I look at it that the tree of fruit might be worth $200. Bonus! But when you make it into things you might greatly increase this.
At our local store a homemade apricot pie is around $35. They look amazing and sell like hot cakes.
I could easily make ten of those. Thats $350.
I could make 20 jars of jam. At $3 a jar thats another $60.
A few dozen muffins for the freezer. According to local prices thats another $100 or so.
I can also use this as an opportunity to thank people. A man down the street often sweeps the whole strip including past us. I can use this as a chance to thank him and take down an apricot slice.
The girls would get a week of free fruit.
The money saved all year from that fruit, the gifts and donations I can use it for so many other things...
And so it goes.
Can you see how the value adds up and up?
I would watch out apricot tree like a hawke. As soon as bird pecks started on the fruit I started picking. The entire dining room floor would be covered in apricots!
Whether it's fruit from your own tree or from somewhere else it tends to come all at once and be a very busy time. Truly, it can overwhelm you. Time can run out and the fruit can spoil. It really is a window of opportunity that you have. But it can really get you ahead. You can turn that fruit into such an asset.
Now this also applies to any time you might get a lot of any produce. Being ready helps.
Last year I had about 40 kilos of peaches in two days. It was bliss. But some was very ripe and I had to work fast. Luckily I was ready. Being ready makes all the difference!
So at this time of year I know in another month or so this season will start for me. These are the things I do to be ready that help me get it all done and waste none. (this is the way I get ahead for the busy time of dealing with all this fruit!)
Firstly all year I collect jars. I like to make lots of jam as jam is useful for so many things, including gifts. I let people know too that I collect jars. When you have a kitchen full of fruit you really don't have time to go looking for jars and you don't want to have to buy them. So collect, collect.
I tend to save pretty jars and smaller ones to use as gifts so I have a stash as those as well...
Have all your jars cleaned. This all saves a lot of time when you are busy.
I save up jam toppers, labels, tags etc. They are all ready. Although I will not start labeling and prettying jars up until all the fruit is dealt with as you have time for that later...
Knowing this season is coming I am having a freezer challenge. I want room to put away and freeze pies, stewed fruit, crumbles, cakes and muffins.
I will make sure I have packets of frozen pastry. While I should make my own pastry I don't. I watch for specials and save up packets so I can make quick pies in big numbers. This helps me a lot. The price of homemade pies makes me realize they are beautiful, suitable for guest and gifts too!
I save up sugar ready for jam making. I put away quite a few bags. Coming up closer I will also get lemons as jam always sets if you squeeze half a lemon into it.
I will also make cobblers and crumbles. So I store up flour and have spare butter ready in the fridge.
During the year I also try and collect ideas and recipes and plan what I could do with this fruit. I want to make the most of it. The more gifts it can give me the better. This year I found this picture that I think is lovely...
So I have been saving up fabric scraps and vintage spoons which I have been paying about 20c so I can copy this!
I liked the look of this peach crumble cake so I will be trying that...
Whatever you like to make and however you like to preserve get as much ready to go as possible. It will help you manage much better and get more done.
You also can buy time and waste less if you deal with what comes in with a little system. Right away wash everything. I spread fruit out on an old sheet or towel so I can see what needs using right away through to what may not be fully ripe yet. Some can go into the fridge and this slows down ripening. So it might mean I only have to deal with a bit today and can use up some each day until it's done. This makes it much more manageable.
We will also be eating fresh fruit and using it in our meals. Last year I made nectarines into a beautiful salad with rocket and feta. So we use lots in fresh ways as well.
A bit of planning and organization means you can turn a windfall into some serious assets that will help you for the whole year. What could be better?
Next week I will go onto recipes and the things you can make. You can make small batches of jam in the microwave and it only takes about half an hour. I have been known to be making jam as I cook dinner. Small batches still amount to a row of jars if that suits you better.
Fruit from one tree can put you ahead in your budget by hundreds of dollars. It is amazing. And it isn't hard.
I truly hope you will be blessed with fruit this summer and it becomes a great help to your pantry and budget. Get ready now and start planning. It is such a happy time to have abundance and the chance to make it benefit you for a whole year ahead. True happiness! xxx