Along with all our vegetable gardening in the past month, we have been doing some gleaning. Here in the mountains, blackberries grow wild. The past few years we have been able to pick some. This year, the berries were especially juicy and sweet. One weekend, we all drove up into the mountain and picked for about an hour. The yield was eight quarts for the freezer not including all the berries popped into mouths as we picked.
This spring, I took a picture of this beautiful flowering plum tree that I pass on my daily walks.
As weeks went by, we noticed the tree was laden with lots of little green fruit. Eventually the fruit began to turn red and purple. The caretaker of the home said we were welcome to pick the plums. Most of the fruit was too high in the tree to reach, so we gathered the plums that had fallen to the ground. The fruits are about the size of a cherry. The flesh is sweet, but the skin adds a sour twang. I had never seen such small plums, so I Googled to find out more information. The fruit is called a “cherry plum.” I hate to see food go to waste, but we finally had to stop picking up after ten gallons.
The plums are delicious fresh; but when I tried canning them, they were just too sour. I did make one recipe of jam which has a fabulous flavor: sweet with a bit of a tang to it. I also made some plum juice which is pretty good. Fill a jar with plums, cover them with sugar syrup, then can the jars in a boiling water bath for 30 minutes. The last recipe I attempted was a plum tart. Our daughter and I are enjoying the pie, but again it is a bit on the sour side.
Gleaning reminds me of Ruth in the Bible and how God provided for her and her mother-in-law in their time of need. I love the idea of using food that would otherwise go to waste. I appreciate the fact that there is no money involved in getting the fruit and that there are no chemicals used in growing it. When we glean, I feel grateful to God for His daily provision and thankful to the person who has allowed us to gather the harvest.