If you don't have any fruit trees around you then possibly fruit is available more cheaply and you can take advantage of this. But if people you know have fruit that they clearly don't pick offer to take it off their hands and return with jam. Usually they jump at the offer!
Seriously I know every fruit tree in a massive radius! And I always have ... years ago I knew of a fruit tree on the side of the road in the country. It was an old apple tree and every March I would go there and we would pick buckets of apples. They were amazing. I would make pies and stew apples for days.
Jams are an easy way to keep spoiling fruit for future use. Once you have jam you have gifts, the ingredients for many things from marinades, glazes, toppings and fillings for cakes, muffins.... so many things. See my recent post on the easy way to make jam.
I stew a lot of fruit. I do it in concentrated batches (use less water) as it will take up less room in the freezer. Lightly stewed fruit is so good, it seems so fresh. On hot days I serve it still partially frozen, it's gorgeous. You can stew and blend it and make ice blocks!
I have posted this recipe before. It's my Mums recipe and it is such a quick way to turn fruit into pies that can go in the freezer. Very inexpensive too. All you do is cut your fruit in half and remove the seed. This is good for apricots, peaches, nectarines and plums.
Cut off any blemishes and grease a shallow dish. I will fill as many dishes as I have fruit that needs to be used.
So there is no chopping or slicing, just cutting in half.
Then mix together 1 cup of water, 1 tablespoon of butter, 2 tablespoons sugar and 4 tablespoons SR flour. Blend. It looks like pancake mix.
Pour this over your fruit....
Pop into medium/high oven until golden brown. Thats it! Now if I plan to freeze it I slightly under cook it as I would with most things to freeze because it will probably brown further next time and you don't want it to end up over cooked. So I stop at medium golden...
If I have filled 4 dishes with fruit I will just times the recipe by four and pour it all over. Plums turn out so pink it looks amazing!
They freeze so well. When you do eat them serve them with good cream or ice cream. They are delicious!
I like to keep a packet of puff pastry in the freezer all the time. I cheat at this. Having this on hand you can turn so many things into a handy pie. With puff pastry just line a dish, throw in your fruit just the same as above, sprinkle with sugar (I won't say an amount, it depends on what you like, the size of the pie, the amount of fruit you use, the tartness of the fruit... in general I will use around two heaped tablespoons...) Cover with pastry, prick and decorate and cook in a medium oven for around an hour. I think maybe I will just do a post on ways to do this!
This recipe will work over tinned fruit. Sometimes wonderful tinned fruit is a bargain. My friend Helen got heaps of tinned plums last year for cents each. Just drain the fruit and follow the recipe the same. When I drain fruit I save the juice and make ice blocks from it. A few dropped into water are enough to flavour water in summer or add to a punch.
In winter when it's cold a hot desert is lovely. I use them when the family have come over for dinner. So handy!
With back to school coming making up a big batch of muffins with fruit for the freezer would be very handy too. I will post a recipe shortly for that.
Being blessed with abundant fruit or any produce is a huge way to eat well and save money. A few days of extra cooking like this can set you up for most of the year for deserts and jams. I love it! And today I have more nectarines to pick! But this time comes once a year and I make the absolute most of it, it's a gift. We are so lucky.
Our weather is warming up too so I will try to get all cooking done and out of the way before it hits 40!