Hi everyone! This past weekend was so beautiful outdoors and extremely “spring-like”. My favorite kind of weather. Hubby and I soaked up the sun’s healing rays all weekend long as we continued to focus all of our attention in the orchard. As always, we have a ton of work to get to in the house, specifically our “tight-budget” kitchen renovation, but first things first. Our fruit trees need our attention to ensure we give them a great start to the upcoming harvest season.
I’ve been wanting to mention a few of the benefits to growing your own fruit trees. The obvious benefit is the wonderful fruit you get to harvest in your own backyard. There’s nothing better than the taste of fresh grown fruit “picked at peak” ripeness. Store bought doesn’t even come close in comparison. Another benefit are the health benefits from eating in-season, non-GMO, non-pesticide-laden fruit. What about the other not so obvious benefits? Did you know that when you do your annual pruning (typically in December/January) you can save the branches you remove for some real nifty uses? If the branches are large enough, you can build rustic support structures for your veggie garden. You can use them in a number of craft projects. Or you can simply add a little more beauty to your home and life. How you ask? Simply grab a few of your favorite vases, glass jars, etc., and fill them up about 1/4 of the way with fresh cool water…
Next, select a few branches (with teeny tiny buds) and cut off (at an angle) a small section at the bottom of each branch.
Place the branches into your water-filled containers and voila! Within 1-2 weeks, you’ll have gorgeous blooms like the photos below. Just remember to change the water out every few days with fresh water and cut off another small section of the bottom of your branches (to encourage the branch to soak up the water). The blooms should last you for about 1-2 weeks. Fruit tree flowers are so beautiful!
Saturn (Donut) Peach branches
Fruit tree flowers are so beautiful!
Here’s another great use for fruit tree branches. You can use them for your next BBQ. I’m sure you’ve heard of “smoking”, well, each different fruit tree branch gives its own unique flavor to cooked meats and veggies! I haven’t tried this one yet, but it is on my “to do” list in the very near future. I have it on good authority (from our local test Orchard), who sell different fruit tree branch bundles specifically for this purpose. Here’s a helpful fruit wood selection guide for your next BBQ…
Fruit Wood Selection Guide
|Almond||Nutty, sweet flavor that is good with all meats.|
|Apple||Very mild in flavor and gives food a sweetness with a sweet aroma. Good with poultry, pork and pork ribs.|
|Apricot||Slightly sweet, dense, fruit flavor. Beef, poultry, game birds, and pork.|
|Cherry||Sweet, mild flavor that goes great with virtually everything. This is one of the most popular woods for smoking. A favorite with chicken, beef, pork and poultry.|
|Fig||Burns hot and fast and sends a heady, almost sweetly floral aroma. Use with fish, poultry, lobster, and pizza.|
|Grapevines||Tart smoke giving a fruity but sometimes heavy flavor. Use it sparingly with poultry or lamb.|
|Nectarine||Sweet and mild, great for poultry and pork.|
|Peach||Similar to nectarine but a distinctly different taste. Great for poultry and pork.|
|Pear||Similar to apple and produces a sweet, mild flavor. Good with poultry, pork and pork ribs.|
|Plum||Great for poultry and pork. This wood is similar to hickory but is sweeter and milder in flavor.|
During the growing season and through the winter, any painted branches will have most of the water based paint worn off and will burn the remaining paint off easily. Be sure to give it a few minutes before placing your food on the BBQ. Enjoy!