Witches Fingers, Hot Watermelon Ice Pops, and Hoarding Fresh Fruit

My applesauce: not as good as my mother used to make.

Trying to hoard apples: my applesauce is not as good as my mother used to make.

I love fresh fruit. It’s one thing I’d love to hoard, but the best we can do is preserve it, and then it isn’t fresh fruit anymore is it? I follow the seasons, so I’m eating pears and apples now. Peaches, plums and blueberries are in season somewhere else, and for me a distant summer memory. To you lucky folks elsewhere: enjoy them while you can.

Here are a few ways to ALMOST hoard fresh fruit.

Take a picture. I just found some very-old photos I took of berries we used to pick in the country around the small town where I grew up. Wild blackberries, raspberries, and dewberries went into pies and jam. Oh yes, and there was a cow in my past, so we sometimes ate the berries fresh with cream. Ticks and poison ivy were no object. When I look at these photos I don’t just remember how the fruit smelled and tasted, I’m there, hearing the birds and insects, seeing how the light falls, and feeling dewy morning air on my skin.

Wild berries along the railroad tracks, midwestern US.

Wild berries along the railroad tracks, midwestern US.

We had wild grapes back then too. But fast forward to the present. Grocery store and market grapes appeared this year in varieties I’ve never seen before. I’ve been guilty of recreational grocery shopping — I found “Witches Fingers” grapes at Fresh Market, once only.

Grapes: Witches Fingers, Seedless Concord, Midnight Beauty, and Cotton Candy -- plus a couple of figs... guess which ones are the Witches Fingers.

Grapes: Witches Fingers, Seedless Concord, Midnight Beauty, and Cotton Candy — plus a couple of figs… guess which ones are the Witches Fingers.

For a couple of weeks in September, “Cotton Candy” grapes were available– big green globes of crisp sweetness. ‘Thomcords”, half Thompson, half Concord, and seedless, have an equally short season. In the last few weeks I found yet another variety I’d never seen before — “Gold N Sweet”, and are they ever (sweet).

Freeze it. It’s tough to get a whole watermelon eaten, so I started making ice pops. Cantaloupe and honeydew work well too: blend, then freeze, no sugar needed! I still have a couple of these last bites of summer in my freezer.

"Hot" summer ice pop, cold winter yard.

“Hot” summer ice pop, cold winter yard.

Here’s a twist on watermelon ice pops. I found a recipe for spicy watermelon online here at allrecipes.com. I had some spice mix left over, so the next time I made watermelon ice pops I got creative.  Just pulse watermelon in the blender, add spice mix to taste, a twist of lime, then halve a few grapes and sprinkle pieces in the molds. Cover with watermelon mix. Freeze.  Hot Watermelon Ice Pops –yum.

Make wine. Next up is my brother’s home-made elderberry port. It’s ruby goodness is born of hot August afternoons trudging through the country to find a berry patch (he suffers for his art).

Elderberry port.

Elderberry port.

Witches Fingers grapes.

Witches Fingers.

Here’s one more look at the Witches Fingers. Don’t you think they should grow them to harvest at Halloween time?

What’s your favorite way of hoarding fruit?

P.S. …and thanks to Sam for a gift box of superb pears. I love the boxes they come in, because the first time I saw one at the door, the air-holes made me think  “baby chickens!”  …No, no, I don’t need any baby chicks, I’m just sayin’.

Royal Riviera Pears in a chicken box.

These wondrous fresh pears are “Royal Riviera”.

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