I have been craving fruit during the past few days; that and yoghurt and ice-cream and hot tea!
This is my favourite night-time drink when I have a cold. Hot honey and lemon drink. The juice of half a lemon mixed with a good sized spoonful of honey and freshly boiled water. A little sugar sometimes but not always. R likes to add a tot of whisky with his but I don’t like whisky and prefer the drink non-alcoholic. The mug was a present from A and is just right for this drink and other herbal teas. It fits so nicely into my cupped hand!
I also made a fruit salad this evening with the first locally (well Norfolk) grown strawberries. This is so early for strawberries I was expecting them to be either sour or tasteless but they were very good. The other fruit was imported mainly from Spain – raspberries, blueberries – I can’t remember where the Galia melon was grown and the blackberries came from …… MEXICO? I do try to buy fruits and vegetables in season and locally grown but I do succumb sometimes and as I said, I really want fruit at the moment.
While I am on the subject of fruit I will show some photos of our fruit trees. These photos have been taken over the past week or two. I haven’t been out of the house today and photographing would have been difficult anyway because of the wind and regular showers of heavy rain.
This is our Concord pear tree on 23rd April and as you see the fruit was beginning to set. I tried taking a picture of the much larger fruit yesterday but I only got blurred images as it was so windy. We have found that Concord pears are best as cooking pears. If we wait until they are beginning to soften on the outside they have already started to rot in the middle. If we try to eat them while they are hard and crunchy they are quite tasteless. But, if we cook them when hard but ready to be harvested they are wonderful. My favourite is caramelised pears!
Our Saturn eating apple tree on 23rd April.
Saturn blossom. The Saturn has now lost all its blossom and the fruit is setting.
Egremont Russet eating apple tree. Note the attractive chicken wire which protects the tree from deer and rabbits. This photo also taken on 23rd April.
Egemont Russet blossom. As I mentioned in an earlier post the apples on this tree are not like true Egremont Russet apples so either we have been mis-sold or we have a tree that has been adapted to suit people that don’t like the look of traditional Russet apples. I love them with their dull, rough, RUSSET skins. They are sweet, juicy and crunchy and the skins are not tough; the flesh has a good nutty taste. One of my favourite apples.
‘Harry Baker’ crab apple tree, 23rd April. This is the tree that R has tended so carefully and it is now looking so much better and growing upwards now! You can see from a lot of these photos that the trenches made by the JCB a couple of months ago are still in evidence. We have contacted the landscaper to ask him to fill in the holes with top-soil and make good. We are waiting for him to turn up. Apparently he is on jury service.
‘Harry Baker’ blossom. The fruits are enormous and make very good crabapple jelly.
‘Evereste’ crabapple tree, 23rd April. I don’t make crabapple jelly from these fruits though I could easily. I like to leave them for the birds – blackbirds and fieldfares – who enjoy them after they have been frosted. Most of the fruits from last year were left on the tree as we didn’t get a hard enough frost this winter to make the fruits palatable for the birds. There must have been enough food for the birds this winter without them needing these apples. I had to cut them off the tree as the leaves were coming out and so we have had hardly any blossom this spring. I am glad to say that, because of this, the tree is at last beginning to grow again.
Our weeping species crabapple. The smell of the blossom was overpowering and when I bent down and went under the tree the buzzing of the many bees enjoying the flowers was very loud. Mr and Mrs Mole have been working hard on their tunnels under the tree as you can see!
The fruits are very small on this crab tree and are eaten by birds. I have included this tree because it is so beautiful. It does have fruit but not fruit that we would want to eat!
I wanted to take another photo of our Turkey Fig tree yesterday to show the new leaves and the enlarging fruit but the wind prevented me.
This is the photo I posted in March and I will try to take a new photo as soon as I can. We have a Bramley cooking apple but it has decided not to flower this year. It is growing well so we are not worried.
This is our ‘Norfolk Biffin’ cooking apple tree. The tree is also known as a ‘Norfolk Beefing’ and is a heritage tree. The apples are very large and have a slightly spicy taste when cooked almost as if some nutmeg or cinnamon has been added. They are apparently very good as dried apples and that is how they were often used in Victorian times. We hope to get a dryer one day so we can try this out (and so that I can dry some of my herbs too). Norfolk Biffins are mentioned in Charles Dickens ‘A Christmas Carol’ in Stave Three when Scrooge is out on the streets with the Ghost of Christmas Present. He talks of them being eaten after dinner and it is true that when left long enough they do become sweet enough to be used as an eating apple.
The greengage tree which is quite new had its first flowers this year – four of them. We may have fruit but it is hard to say as yet. The damson/bullace trees have fruit setting on them but whether I will get any before the birds, squirrels, wasps etc. get to them is anyone’s guess.
We have been harvesting our rhubarb for a while now and we are leaving it for the time being to grow more leaves.
The flowers on our blackberry canes. Last year we were able to have quite a few fruit as there were hardly any wasps about. Usually the wasps get to them and ruin them no matter how I try to protect them.