About Me

I am a techno/gadget freak. I love almost anything that has to do with computers and software. I have an engineering background, but I haven't worked in that field for over 10 years. I married my wonderful husband in September 2004 and look forward to spending every single day of the rest of my life with him. I love cats and even call myself "Cat".

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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Thanksgiving & A Bounty of Local Fruit

Its Thanksgiving here in Canada tomorrow.  While I haven't been working for the last 7 months, I've been trying to learn to do a few new things - like this year I wanted to learn how to can fruit & vegetables.  I decided to see what fruits grow locally, within my neighbourhood.  You would be surprised at the variety of apples grown in Calgary.  There are two trees in my neighbourhood in particular that have beautiful apples. The one tree (my favourite) has big sweet apples about the size of a red delicious with crisp white flesh.  The other tree is a crabapple tree with large apples about the size of small macintosh apples.  The flesh was a lot like a macintosh apple as well.  From all the apples I picked, I canned a dozen 1/2 ltr jars of unsweetened applesauce. The apples were sweet enough that I didn't need any sugar.  I also made and froze some apple pie filling - probably enough for about 4 large pies. I saved all the peelings and cores and attempted to make apple jelly, but it didn't set.  But, I do have some very yummy apple syrup for my pancakes this winter.  Its also quite delicious drizzled over vanilla icecream.  There are two plum trees in the neighbourhood also.  One tree is wild red plums - which makes beautiful jams. The other is the nice round blue plums which would make nice prunes and stewed plums.  I didn't ask to pick any plums this year because I didn't want to overwhelm myself. Also, I want to make sure I have the process down so that I don't risk poisoning myself or wasting all the ingredients. The last thing I'm really surprised to find growing in the back yard of one of our neighbours are grapes.  I noticed them the other day when I was walking Mitzy.  I didn't think we had a long enough growing season here to grow grapes.  Then I thought they must be just an ornamental variety.  Well, today as I was walking Mitzy again, the neighbours were out in their yard, so I stopped and asked them what kind of grapes they were.  They're concord grapes.  They're very very small and at first I though they would have been champagne grapes.  Here's a picture of one cluster:



You'll notice a few missing from the cluster.  I tried them.  They're very tart, but very flavourful.  However, they have a couple of seeds in the berry that make them almost impossible to eat as a snack.  I have about 2lbs of the fruit that I will juice and make into jelly.

I'm so happy that I decided to ask my neighbours if I could pick these fruits.  They were more than willing for me to take it away.  I think most of the time, they don't want to be bothered to clean it up when it falls to the ground and starts to rot.  All it cost me so far was the cost for some canning jars and a 10lb bag of sugar for the jelly.  So, look around your neighbourhood.  I'll bet there is lots of "free" fruit if you just ask.

Talk to you later...

Cat

3 comments:

Patricia said...

You're so lucky to have access to the fresh fruit and neighbors willing to give it to you! Kudos to you for learning how to preserve it. I haven't tried any fruit yet, but I have frozen the peas, butterbeans and snaps from our vegetable garden for the last few years. They are so much tastier than anything from the grocery store!

Lynn said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you too. I saw your note on Splitcoast about cards for OWH. I make cards for them and have been looking for someone local to maybe hook up with and make cards. I am new to the area and don't know any cardmakers. Let me know if that sounds like something we could talk about. Lynn

More like....etc. said...

CAT! I didn't even realize that you blogged {blush} such great suggestions... tho' the only berries in my 'hood' are probably poisonous or p!ssed on by the neighbourhood pests

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