Everyone this autumn seems to have surplus fruit. We have had one bough down on our katy apple tree as I wasn’t quick enough to unburden it, and the pear and plum trees have been just a laden. For a couple of our espalier pear trees I removed 75% of the fruit a couple of months ago and this has really paid dividends. We have had our best pears ever. Note to self for next summer.
So what to do with it all?
Plums don’t store well, so my approach is to eat plums every day until you can’t bear the sight of another plum (until next summer). I’m not mad on plum jam, but the River Cottage plum chutney is a winner for any plums you can’t face eating.
Pears don’t store well either so they are best left on the tree and picked as you need them. I find it best to bring them indoors when they are still hard and to ripen them for a couple of days. Beware though as pears have a nasty trick of rotting from the inside out, so don’t let a healthy exterior fool you.
Apples are much more versatile. Cookers can be stored through to the spring as long as you have a dry, frost free apple store. Cookers and eaters can be crushed to make apple juice. All you need is an apple crusher and an apple press. If you have too much juice, it can be frozen (or given to thirsty friends). A nice problem to have.