Storing and Preserving Orchard Fruits

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Autumn is one of my favourite seasons in the garden; the sultry heat of high summer has gone and the air feels fresher with early morning mists (has anyone else noticed the spiders’ webs everywhere, outlined with dewdrops?) and a mellow fruitfulness. Now that the soft fruits have all but finished cropping, we can turn our attention to the orchard fruits – apples, pears and plums - which will now be ripening and ready for storing.

Apples are the classic orchard fruit with hundreds of different varieties to try and to pick a perfectly ripe, sun-warmed apple is a gardener’s delight. Now is the time to store the unblemished ones over the winter months, wrapped in old newspaper and laid on trays in a cool place.

Pears are as easy to grow as apples, but need a little more warmth and frost and wind protection to reward you with crops of sweet fruit. Pears are best left unwrapped for storing, standing on slatted benches in a cool place (old pallets, which have a multitude of uses on an allotment, are ideal for this purpose).

Plums, which include greengages, damsons and bullaces, yield so easily that a glut is almost certain, providing ample for preserving in jams. They are rich in pectin and easy to prepare; the most widely available ‘Victoria’ is a good jam plum; however, being a keen wild food forager, I have made good preserves from the wild plum too.

We are currently digging the second half of our allotment plot in preparation for growing fruit, so my thanks are due to our allotment neighbours for the fruit in the images shown here and for their fruit-storing wisdom.

 Thanks for reading,