Sunday, 18 September 2016

Scrump ye not, Cro.



I shall not be going Scrumping this year; there's nothing to Scrump (see above).

Usually at this time of year I walk past certain trees (especially the one above) with the express purpose of picking-up a few Apples, Normally the ground would be strewn with hundreds of delicious windfall fruits, but this year has been a fruit growing disaster. There is nowt.

Within the next 30 days I shall no doubt gather a few Chestnuts, and several Kilos of Walnuts, but otherwise it's a desert out there. Our Blackberry picking was pathetic, and I doubt if we'll see any Cepes.

We have a few Bramleys which will soon have to be brought in, but nothing else has performed as expected. If we were a self-sufficiency family, we would be starting to panic.

In earlier feudal  times, local peasants would gather, and dry, plenty of Chestnuts to keep them going through Winter. They ground flour from the dried nuts, then lived almost exclusively on Chestnut soup and porridge until Spring. No doubt they occasionally made delicious Cepe omelets as well; but I don't wish to spoil a good hardship story.




34 comments:

  1. Lady M's apple crumbles will be few and far between this winter then. (There must have been cold weather in April that messed up the apples growing).

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    1. I wonder if the decline in the Bee population is to blame also?

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  2. So much was affected by the cold spring but our grapes are the best they have ever been this year and the hazel nut tree has gone absolutely bonkers.

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    1. I'd forgotten the Hazel Nuts; plenty here too.

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  3. I always think about lean years and how hard it wold be in the past, we just don't see it now we can go to the supermarket. A common question I get when people come to my place is why have so many apple trees and I say you have to plan for the bad year! in the past it would have meant starvation and some serious hardships.

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    1. Luckily we do still have some packs of stewed apple in the freezer from 2015.

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  4. I think it was that long cold spell in Spring which did it, which suited our plum trees but not our apples or kiwis, and then that long hot summer after that with hardly any rain..but there is always next year to look forward to!

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    1. I didn't have any Plums at all. Plenty of flowers in Spring; now nothing.

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  5. Strange to say, the ancient apple tree in my back garden has produced more fruit than in the last 6 years.
    But there's a noticeable paucity of brambles.
    The rose hips are prolific though.

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    1. I don't know of a single tree around here that's produced a good crop. Next year maybe!

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  6. I was surprised to read that you have hardly had any blackberries. Around here( Hertfordshire) there has been an abundance . I have never seen so many!

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    1. There's a small amount of tiny dried-up berries, but not the quality required for freezing.

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  7. I love chestnuts. We used to go with our son, when he was a little boy, to scrump them.
    Greetings Maria x

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    1. We eat so few each year; a dozen each maybe. But I love the anticipation of the harvest, simply because it such an important local crop.

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  8. Here, in Centre, we have absolutely no walnuts this year! But, we do have the best ever harvest of filberts... over ten kilos! So "SWMBO" has made pear and hazelnut chutney.... instead of the walnut version!
    Normally, our blackberries are like yours this year... we have a couple of places where we can glean enough for a blackberry and apple crumble... or a clafoutis.... the rest all just pippy, brown things. This year, we are swimming in them. might make a batch of "mure"!
    But apples.... we've so many, we've invested in a proppa fruit press!
    We were thinking along the lines of cider... but the juice is so wonderful as it is, herself is going to try and bottle sterilize some...
    if it begins to go, we'll end up with cider anyway, so 'tis worth the trial.
    Despite the drought, I think the reason that we've got apples and blackberries is entirely down to the 3/4ths of a metre of rain that we got over the winter... only the top few inches have dried out drastically... anything with deep roots can drink happily!

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    1. Walnuts (like Figs and Quinces) never seem to fail here, I expect our climate is perfect for them. Good thing, as I drink Walnut oil each morning, and try to eat about 8 every day.

      I too have a fruit press which I bought with the idea of making Apple wine or Cider. But I still don't have a mincing machine (or even any Apples) in order to create the pulp required for pressing. C'est la vie!

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    2. I've just been down to look at my Hazel nut bush. The ground beneath it is thick with nuts; they look very good too.

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  9. Can you give me some idea of what I can use our walnuts for please.

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    1. Have you tried Pesto; instead of Pine nuts? Very good. Otherwise I just eat them as they are. Lady M, of course, uses them in cakes.

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    2. I do that too, no one can tell the difference; pine nuts are too expensive. x

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  10. Well, sorry to burst your bubble but it has been a wonderful year for fruit here, everything is wonderfully abundant, the bad Spring must have missed us.

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    1. One persons loss is another persons glut.

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  11. Poor you. You're going to miss out on all those tasty apple recipes Felicity has been posting on her blog. I thought 'scrumpy' was cider. Do you scrump to make 'scrumpy' then when you are able to scrump?

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    1. I'm not sure if the two words are related, but 'scrumping' is taking fruit from someone else's trees.

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    2. It's a lovely word. I had never heard it before so I googled and got all the lowdown. I shall use it whenever I can!!!

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  12. We have a little fig tree and nothing would it bear. - in the last 10 years.
    This year it's covered in fruit but as yet not 'ripe'. Maybe next year will do the trick. It's not a Brown Turkey but green.

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    1. I've no idea what variety mine are, I just pull up suckers and plant them. I have three main varieties; ordinary, smooth skinned round, and white.

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    2. On scrumping a couple of someone elses figs this am, I reflected that as an arctophile, I should have used 'bare' about my tree not 'bear', but now I am not so sure.

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  13. Acorns ground up kept some alive in the US in fallow years.

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    1. Didn't they make a type of 'coffee' from them too?

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  14. This post and the prior comments are very interesting windows on how greatly the 2016 weather has varied.

    Those of us who do not have to rely on what we grow or raise for our sustenance are very lucky. I've certainly read lots of books about chestnuts being a mainstay, even during wartime.

    Best wishes.

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    1. They were very important here, and the stealing of Chestnuts was regarded as an extremely serious offence.

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  15. Apples her in Illinois sucketh badly and peaches have been scant. Tomatoes got too much rain but our potatoes are fantabulous! So it looks like I'll be making potato pie, potato jam and potato sauce because we are one of those sustainable families and we are a bit nervous.

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    1. That's the Irish in you Donna. Where would you be without Spuds.In fact where would any of us be without Spuds!

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