Tired of watching overripe bits drop to the ground in a gloppy mess? Here are some ideas on making the most of your bountiful backyard fruit trees.
For the family
Donick Cary and Kim Huffman of Rossmore Ave. enjoy a mulberry tree that the previous homeowner planted to the summertime delight of silkworms and local children.
The Carys make lots of berry crumbles and granita, but when the tree is in peak harvest season, they host a juicy backyard harvest that leaves friends pickin’ and grinnin’.
“The mulberry tree blesses us prodigiously only once a year, so we have mulberry pickin’ parties, where the kids wear bathing suits and look like little vampires with berry juice dripping off their chins,” said Kim.
“It looks more like Halloween than summer break,” said Donick. “Everyone goes home happy with fruit and stains.”
For the adults
On Plymouth Blvd., Erin Berenson’s 3-in-1 fruit tree has a citrus rootstock that was grafted with grapefruit, lemon, lime and orange branches. The “cocktail tree” and vegetable garden provide botanicals to infuse spirits for a mixologist’s dream.
Last year, Erin’s tree runneth over with kumquats so she made infused vodka. With a splash of tangerine juice, the cocktail was a hit so she decided to go bolder this year.
“I planted a salsa garden with tomatoes, cilantro, onions and peppers. I was warned that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with all the tomatoes but instead it was the peppers.” Now, her homemade chili pepper vodka provides the base for a spicy and original Bloody Mary tasting.
Erin’s infusion technique is simple: Choose a clean, air-tight jar; loosely pack jar half to three-quarters full with roughly cut fruit, herbs or vegetables. Fill jar with vodka (or get creative with another spirit), seal and allow to sit two to four weeks. Serve or strain and store for a longer shelf-life.
Got fruit?The Natural Resources Defense Council estimates that up to 52 percent of nature’s candy goes to waste instead of being consumed. Fight hunger by donating fresh fruit from your tree.
Food Forward is a volunteer organization that harvests fruits and vegetables for delivery to food pantries serving those in need.
Register your tree for a DIY harvest with friends and family or for a Community Harvest where they’ll organize volunteers to pick it for you.
Not as back-breaking as a Millet gleaning and far more enjoyable, Food Forward’s philosophy of fruitanthropy connects volunteers who pick trees and recover food from one of 11 L.A. Farmers Markets. Volunteer for Food Forward’s Glean Team at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’ve got an abundance of fresh fruit, make it an event by sharing.