What If There Is Too Much Fruit?

treehugger101June 12, 2013

Thanks for everyone's help with my berry endeavor. We are having a nice harvest this year despite my mistakes. This is today's pickings from one Duke hb blueberry and five strawberry plants. This makes me wonder about the 30 blueberry bushes that should produce next year. In reading all of the threads, folks share they have hundreds of fruit on just one tree and so on. What do you do with all of that fruit? I can only make but so many jars of jam and tarts like Mrs. G. I'd like to have a plan before it rots on the trees or bushes. Thanks.

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The local food bank and shelters accept fresh -but not home processed- fruit. I've given away bags of my own apples to neighbors and never heard a complaint. We've harvested fruit from a friend's orchard for the food bank too.

Nice problem to have!

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 11:05AM
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Bradybb WA-Zone8

Invite a neighbor or two over. Brady

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 11:31AM
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HeyJude2012(10b/24 San Diego)

Hi Treehugger. Those are nice berries!

I don't have a huge garden since I have such a small back yard. I grow everything in containers so I don't have a lot leftover to share but when I do, I've never had anyone turn down a gift of homegrown anything :). The food bank sounds like a great idea too. So many people can't afford the fancy fresh berries.

I washed a good portion of my blueberries and washed and cut up strawberries and put them in the freezer. I have a yogurt maker and an ice cream maker. I'll use the fruit for those later when the fresh fruit stops. The frozen fruit is good for pancakes and muffins later on when your bushes have stopped producing. You're so lucky to have so much space. :)

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 12:48PM
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Blueberries freeze really well - better than strawberries, imo. And they don't need any processing.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 2:28PM
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Freezing, drying, and canning are the main ways, and helps to be a fruit glutton while in season.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 3:59PM
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I do freeze what will fit and can and dry. We live in very rural PA so most neighbors grow everything, too. I guess I will budget for a full freezer and find some place to put one. The food bank is a good idea. Maybe our church, too. I guess I will think positive on all of the fruit coming and figure it out when it happens. Maybe we can sell at a farmer's market if there is that much. Mrs. G posted about hundreds of plums. Hundreds! On just one tree. Maybe the glut is not every year depending on weather and other factors so canning for leaner years would make sense.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 4:16PM
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For blueberries, freezing is the solution. I freeze them in 4-5 lbs bags, and over time (say, by March) the bags turn somewhat red inside, but the berries are still good. They never make it to the end of winter, no matter how many you put away - just about everyone in the family eats them for breakfast every day. Strawberries, better to eat them all fresh.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 4:19PM
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Do you have the time to harvest hundreds of berries from each of 30 bushes? You need to have help lined up ahead of time.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 11:42PM
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mark_roeder(4B IA)

Consider giving to a residential care facility for the mentally ill, or alternatively to a nursing home.

I am on the board of an RCF. I know it accepts such donations.My wife works for a nursing home. It accepts garden donations.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2013 at 2:30AM
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My parents used to send big bags of fresh vegetables to the local nursing home and they loved getting them. It was funny to see all the residents grabbing handfuls of tomatoes and running to their rooms to hide them.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2013 at 4:54PM
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Treehugger! Great looking berries! A friend brought over a quart of her fresh strawberrries, she complained that they were sour this year. They were fabulous. Mine are still green.

I do have pals lined up for my plums as I am in a small city and of all my friends I'm the only one who grows fruit, or anything for that matter. I do have takers! It is amazing though to see a tree loaded with plums. Maybe its just a great year for my tree. Mrs. G

    Bookmark   June 13, 2013 at 5:27PM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)

As for ideas...freeze, dehydrate them (dehydrated blueberries are wonderful) or make wine if you have enough. Donating the berries and produce if you have enough is a great way to see others enjoy the literal fruits of your labor.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2013 at 5:59PM
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Also, since no one mentioned, you ought to get a blueberry comb per picker. It goes a lot faster.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2013 at 7:44PM
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blazeaglory(10 SZ22/24 OC Ca)

Oh my god that looks so good!

    Bookmark   June 13, 2013 at 11:27PM
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Everyone who put up with my stupid questions and disaster is responsible for this gorgeous fruit. I thank you again! Mrs. G, I wish we lived close. I love plums!!! Glib, good idea about the blueberry comb. I have seen one somewhere but I could not figure out how to use it. I will do a Google search.
insteng, bamboo_rabbit, mark_roeder, larry_gene, glib, those are all great ideas. I live in a town pop 5,000 so I'll do some research on where some nursing homes might be. I'm so happy that I don't have to let the fruit rot. We have animals with a very special diet and believe it or not, all of this started because I needed to grow organics for them. I do not think certain stone fruits will be grown that way though now that I see what a battle it is even with sprays. But the berries will be. Any overage will go to us and then church, nursing home, retirement homes, etc. What a great bunch of generous folks are on this forum!

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 6:55AM
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I see that Raintree has the combs, and I saw one last fall at the local Ace Hardware.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 7:45AM
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which animals need blueberries, if you don't mind me asking?

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 11:50AM
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Bearded dragons. I am a professional breeder. They need blueberries, kiwi, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries and other fruits (and tons of veggies). I was buying organic but the price has just gotten too much. So, now we grow.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 12:40PM
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Googles bearded dragons. OMG! They are amazing colors and the number 1 selling pet today! Congrats! I'd feed them my extra plums! Mrs. g

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 1:01PM
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I macerate the strawberries to a mush, fill up Freezer bags with it and blend with apple juice all Winter and into the Spring. Yummy, apple strawberry juice! Macerating sure cuts down on the used freezer space.

If growing blues, I concur, freeze them whole.

Of course, being generous and sharing your bounty with those in need is certainly a noble gesture well worth your time.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 3:28PM
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Vacuum seal and freeze or dehydrate and then vacuum seal and freeze is a great way to store fruits.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 4:17PM
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wow! I would send you seeds of my super-productive italian chicories, they would give you much of the greens you need. But you can find them also on several sites. Here is a list of greens (since they need mostly greens) that require no work, germinate easily, and self-seed. For fruits, you could check tromboncino, and serve it when the squash is about two feet long.

bekana (similar to many other brassicas recommended for dragons)
cutting chicory (similar to escarole)
red giant mustard (brassica)
real dandelion greens (dandelion greens are just another chicory)
arugula (brassica) will give you two crops in a season, the second by self-cropping

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 5:20PM
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jayco(5b NY)

Invest in a large chest freezer. It will be worth it! Nice fruit, MMMM.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 7:39PM
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