Delving into the Archives: 2015’s NFFtT Apricots Jam revisited

Not Far From the Treesummary: going through our photo archives; NFFtT apricots; brilliant apricot jam; information about Not Far From the Tree; (click on image(s) to see larger views and more photos)

NFFtT apricots

When I was about to post about NFFtT grapes the other day, I was looking around for the post I was sure I had written about last year’s apricots. I cannot believe I didn’t post about them! Except to mention them briefly when talking about a filling for a brioche flower.

NFFtT apricot jam Considering how really brilliant last year’s apricot jam was, I had hoped to get in on another apricot pick. But it seems that it is not to be this year. NFFtT has become very popular and getting on the roster to do some picking is increasingly difficult. Not to mention that I’m pretty sure that apricot season is over now. If there were even any apricots at all this summer. How disappointing.

Even though… the apricots we picked last year were pretty frightening looking.

When we arrived at the tiny house, we saw that the whole front yard was taken up by a tall, well-laden apricot tree. The apricots were tiny – more the size of large cherries than apricots. And they were in clusters on every branch.

But looking a little more closely, we saw that almost all of the skins were covered with an ugly brown blemish. We were assured by the team leader that the fruit was perfectly fine inside.

apricots And it turned out he was right; without the skin, the fruit looked perfect. A few of the fruits even looked perfect all over.

The first thing we did (as usual) was to clean the yard, removing all the half-eaten apricots from the ground – so we would know that once we started picking, any apricots on the ground would have just fallen rather than have been mouldering there for hours/days. We were a little surprised that the lawn was relatively clear and that we only had to remove a few handfuls of little apricots.

Of course, NFFtT never gives windfall fruit to the owner or the charitable oganization. Their policy is that only the volunteer pickers can take the windfall fruit. As someone from NFFtT said, “[we] leave it up to the pickers to decide whether they’d like to consume windfall because you never know what might be on the ground – pesticides, animal poop, etc.”

The lady next door emerged from her house to sit on a rickety old chair on her porch and watch as we picked the fruit. And when she saw us gazing over at her equally well-laden perfect looking apricot tree, she called us over and suggested that we pick some of her apricots as well.

The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, isn’t it? It turns out that apricots on the tree in the next yard over are always more perfect looking. Because, of course, the lady’s apricots were just as blemished.

Because the apricots were so ripe and ready, they wanted to fall off the tree. So we had a LOT of windfall. Really a lot. And then suddenly we had even more.

The tree was so tall that we couldn’t reach the apricots at the top. So our fearless team leader decided that once we had gathered what fruit we could reach, we would gently shake the tree.

It rained tiny blemished apricots. No. It poured tiny blemished apricots. We scrambled around the lawn, picking them up and placing them in windfall bags.

And suddenly, we noticed that there were two more people with us scrambling around picking up apricots! It was an elderly Chinese couple, each armed with two cloth grocery bags, happily grabbing the apricots. When they saw that we noticed them, they stopped briefly and asked in broken English if it was okay. We laughed and nodded – there were plenty for everyone.

After the couple left, the lady next door said that the couple came by EVERY day, picking up windfall fruit. She said they didn’t usually ask permission…. But of course, they were performing a great service. It meant that the lawn wasn’t horribly covered with half-eaten fruit.

Even with this couple taking away four large bags of apricots, each of us still came home with zillions. My bike was quite laden. I came home, triumphant, and after assuring T that the blemished skin would be easy to remove (ha), we set to work.

I admit it. Peeling the tiny apricots was a little bit labour intensive but definitely worth the effort.

apricotsapricotsapricot jam
apricot jam

 

Not Far From the Tree Not Far From the Tree

“Not Far From the Tree” is a Toronto organization that includes a residential fruit-picking program to pick fruit (with permission, of course) that would otherwise go to waste.

There are lots and lots of fruit trees and vines in Toronto!! Bearing fruit that is eaten by birds, squirrels and raccoons. If you have such a thing in your garden and would like the animals to share the fruit with people, please do contact “Not Far From the Tree”. They will send a team of pickers to clean up your yard of fallen fruit and pick the good fruit that is still in the tree. The harvested fruit is divided evenly into 3 portions: one third going to the tree owners, one third going to the volunteer pickers and the final third going to food banks, shelters, and community kitchens.

For more information about NFFtT and how you can donate your time and/or share your fruit, please go to

 

After deciding not to renew our SAVEUR subscription that ended last August, we finally got a shelf to put our stash of SAVEUR magazines into. It’s the perfect size to house the magazines we have. But the furry black fiend did not approve of losing a new resting place….

furry black fiend

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