With the absolute failure of our garden to thrive this year due to a variety of factors, I’ve got time to do some foraging before Fall planting starts. Lots of things are in season right now and its a very exciting time of year for fruit forage. Stone fruit is in high season with apricots almost finished and peaches are starting to blush. I’ve got my eye on a peach tree on public property, but it seems that lots of other people do too. It feels like a race every year. Some day I’ll have my own peach tree of my own and trying to get peaches won’t be so exciting. Until then I’m not telling where this tree is.
My old reliable for foraging, however, is a fruit that nobody else seems to want, the Crabapple. I read somewhere that in Britian people call them “wildings” and I like that much better. While they’re not great for eating and there’s only so much pickled wilding relish one can eat in a year, IMHO they make the best mead. They are a beautiful fruit too:
I’ve had trouble in the past telling when they’re perfectly ripe and probably let them go a little too long by waiting until I saw them falling off the trees. This is the guideline I’m going by now: The easiest way to tell if the crabapples from a particular tree are ripe is to cut a few open at the equator. If the seeds are brown, the fruit is ripe and ready for picking. Ripe crabapples will also have a bit of give when you squeeze them. I tested and the trees I favor are definitely ready to go.
Sunday Dave and I will go pick a few buckets full and then I’ll get to work steam juicing them. We’ll mix the juice with honey and maybe some water, then pitch the yeast and get probably around 20 bottles of mead for around $2 a bottle. Being a cheap bastard never tasted so good.