If you're prepared to keep your eyes open, it's
surprising to find that from July to September, a lot of unusual
fruit is around, growing in spinnies, hedgerows, school grounds (shut
for the summer holidays) and parks.
I'm not talking about
elderberries, blackberries, etc, but genuine dessert fruit: cherries,
plums and apples. They are all varieties you cannot buy.
Cherry trees are often heavy fruiters, especially
ornamental cherries with white blossom. They carry many sorts of
cherry, ranging from white to red to black, their flavours can be
almost anything between that of a sweet Spanish cherry and an English
These trees are favourites with County Councils and local
authorities. This year I picked about 25lbs on three mornings
and used them for winemaking and in fruit salads. A couple of years ago
I picked 60lb in a few successive mornings for wimemaking. Here
are some of the varieties I found this year:
Bought cherries are no use for wine because they
are not sufficiently acidic.
Plums are also plentiful; flowering
prunus (plums) are favourites in school grounds and parks and
frequently the fruit just falls to the ground. Many think that the fruit
is poisonous....the red-leaved "prunus" trees in private
gardens will often carry a small number of red plums in hot years.
Have you one of these trees? If so, look for fruit in late July.
Here are some plums I found in 2006, planted together by
the Local Authority:
These were quite unlike commercial varieties. The large yellow
tasted of melon, bursting with juice; the larger
red was similar but like watermelon. The small red was
close to a bullace and sharper, a little like a damson.
The small yellow plum was drier and tasted of apricot. A week later
I found some black spherical bullaces about an inch across,
just outside Desford; these were obviously a sloe cross since
they were sweet but bitter.
From a red-leaved "prunus" tree, a well-camoflagued fruit:
Unidentifiable apples are plentiful, too; many of the trees
you see at the roadside are the result of pips. The flavour can
be almost anything If you don't stop the car, you'll never know
and might miss a treat.
Found growing wild near my village:
Inedible cider apple, late August. Being evaluated
by a cider-maker autumn 06.
Late dual-purpose apple; early February, picked December.
Nigel Deacon / Diversity website
Back to top