How To Make Use Of Unripe Windfall Fruit

Living a sustainable, self-reliant life based on permaculture principles is all about working with nature and making the most of everything that your garden has to offer. At this time of year, mature apple and plum trees will shed a lot of unripe fruit as the tree pares down its abundance to a level it can sustain. You may also be thinning fruit to allow the remaining fruit to remain healthy and grow to a good size. However, this windfall fruit should not be wasted. We can make use of this unripe windfall fruit in a number of ways.

Windfall Apples

Windfall apples can be gathered and boiled down to make a mush that can be strained through a sieve and used to make a delicious jelly with the judicious addition of some sugar and whatever other ingredients you fancy. An elderflower and apple jelly is one good option. Another is a spiced apple jelly with ginger. These small and unripe fruits are very sour, but have an advantage for preserves as they are very high in pectin. Save some of this strained apple mix and you can use it in jams and jellies made from fruits that would usually require the addition of some pectin.

You can also use unripe windfall apples to make a variety of chutney recipes. The discolouration that happens so quickly with these tart little apples will not matter in a chutney, that tends to be darker in colour. You could combine some of the apples with some garlic and/or onion from your garden and a range of spices, to taste.

Unripe PlumsYou may be surprised to learn that you can also make use of small, unripe plums. While totally inedible when raw, these sour little fruits can be used as an ingredient in several Georgian and Middle Eastern recipes. You can, for example, make an excellent, tangy sour plum sauce which is a great condiment. In Georgia this sauce and a red variety made with ripe plums later in the year are their version of tomato ketchup. While this is usually made from a small, sour variety of plum, you can use unripe plums of different varieties to approximate the flavour. There are various recipes for the sauce but most include garlic, coriander leaf, green peppers, sugar (enough to counteract the sourness of the plums) and salt to taste.

Unripe plums seem to be particularly good when paired with spice, so any chutney recipes (probably with a little more sugar than you would use for ripe plums) should work nicely. Why not experiment a little? Even if you personally do not enjoy the finished result, you have not lost anything and could well have made use of something that would usually not be considered. Being innovative when it comes to the use of everything your garden provides is an essential part of becoming a more self-reliant gardener.