Today is the first day of summer and a new season begins. With it come homegrown and wild fruits, berries and other goodies from the backyard garden and nearby ditches. In Oklahoma we have a rare delicacy called Sand Plums. A Sand Plum is simply a wild plum that grows out in fields and goes unheeded beside roads in rural areas. The fruit grows on bushes and many are not much larger than your thumb. Others are bigger than a Bing cherry. The pits, however, are as large as a regular plum and look just like them. They are red when ripe which makes them easy to spot from the highway and since the ditches on the side of county roads are free to the public, the hunters found many of them.
My husband and his friend, both avid outdoorsmen, traveled the county roads last week in search of wild Sand Plums and came home with a cornucopia of fruit. Armed with boots, jeans, hats and plenty of insect repellent, they found their prey. They both took large plastic buckets and hubby came in with ten pounds of the tart plums. He left the rest for the local wildlife.
It took all day but it was worth it. We made wild Sand Plum jelly. By the way, ten pounds of Sand Plums nets about eight pints of the ruby colored jelly. It is wonderful on toast or biscuits fresh from the oven.
A couple of weeks ago we drove to Ponca City to visit a friend whose garden was overrun with asparagus. I froze several packages of it after putting it on the grill. It was tasty and I plan several more meals with it.
My son and his wife have two tart pie cherry trees in the front yard that the birds eat most years. Evidently when they fall to the ground and are hit by a lawn mower it looks like a massacre on the side of the white house. This year I helped them out. I picked five quarts of cherries and pitted each and every one of them by hand. Afterwards I discovered I could order a pitter from Amazon that took care of them six-at-a-time. I now have it in the kitchen for next year. We are having cherry cobbler for Father’s Day. It may have a few blackberries in it for good measure since they were ready when I picked the cherries.
The freezer and cabinet are filling up with the bounty that we find here on the plains. We will not go hungry unless the freezer quits. What have you been freezing or canning from your backyard?