I’m just a little bit obsessed with fruit. I selected many of the shrubs I grow because they produce fruit, not necessarily for us but for the birds and other critters. Today we noticed that the birds were going crazy among the ripe Aronia berries. A friend picked about half my berries for jam about a week ago, and I was going to get around to picking some for my own jam–sometime soon. Except that if I hadn’t gathered them today, there would have been none left. The catbirds and robins had devoured at least half of what was left, so I shooed them away and picked almost two pounds of berries. And those birds know how to pick ripe fruit–the berries were soft and juicy, not hard like Aronia berries usually are.
The photo shows the Aronia berries (right) before I picked them over and washed them, plus some elderberries (bottom) that I picked and cleaned a few days ago and stored in the fridge, and some prune plums I bought in the market. The plums on my American plum trees are turning red, but they’re not ripe yet. All this fruit is macerating with sugar in the refrigerator, and I’ll make jam tomorrow using a formula for pectin-free jam I found online.
All summer I’d been planning a purple-fruit jam made entirely of my own wild fruits–Aronia berries, elderberries, and plums–but the plums did not oblige. However, the hazelnuts (Corylus americanus) seem to have ripened today along with the Aronia berries. A few days ago I checked them, hoping to get just a few before the squirrels devoured them all, as they do every year; they were still tight and green inside their husks. Today the ground under the shrubs was littered with husks and shells.
I searched long and hard for some nuts left on one of the trees. I managed to find a single remaining nut and took a rather poor photo of it, so at least you can see what it looks like if you’ve never seen a hazelnut on a tree.
It still looks green, doesn’t it? It sure fooled me, but not the squirrels.