Author Topic: Salvaging immature fruit from emergency thinning operation  (Read 2595 times)

Offline zackandjen2004

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Salvaging immature fruit from emergency thinning operation
« on: August 21, 2013, 01:18:16 PM »
I am in the process of thinning rapidly maturing fruit from my apple and pear trees.  Some branches have snapped.  It's a disaster that I could have avoided by thinning at fruit set.  But it was something that we never got around to...until now.  I hope to get some responses from people who this has personally happened to with regard to these issues:

1.  Healing branches.  Has anyone tried to splint and heal a tree branch? (1 in. diameter, not severed all the way)
2.  Processing SLIGHTLY under-ripe apples.  These are pretty much ready to go, but the starches have not converted all the way to sugars.  Will bagging these with bananas help?  These are a firm, eating-out-of-hand type, not sauce-type apples. 
3.  Ripening SERIOUSLY under-ripe pears.  They are not even at mature size and hard as rocks.  They are normally delicious in late October (10 weeks from now!).

I would like to try to salvage these for human consumption before just chucking them to the chickens, cows, worms, and soldier flies.  Any suggestions?


Offline Cedar

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Re: Salvaging immature fruit from emergency thinning operation
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2013, 03:14:28 PM »
1.  Healing branches.  Has anyone tried to splint and heal a tree branch? (1 in. diameter, not severed all the way)

Should be easy as long as the cambium (the growing part of the tree; located between the wood and bark) is ok and matches up, it should work. DO THIS ASAP so the wood and cambium does not dry out. I would match it together and depending on how much weight is on it, either electrical tape it or wire it closed in one or more places. Ideally the full length of the injury. BUT.. next late spring make sure to take off the tape/wire so that it can grow and will not strangle. I would also paint or spray on that tree heal goo. Keep fruit on it light next year. Normally I would not say this, but in this case I would. The year after let more on and then the year after that you should be good to go.. otherwise take the branch off to the break.

2.  Processing SLIGHTLY under-ripe apples.  These are pretty much ready to go, but the starches have not converted all the way to sugars.  Will bagging these with bananas help?  These are a firm, eating-out-of-hand type, not sauce-type apples.

Dehydrate them with a bit of cinnamon on them. Got a bunch of old laundry baskets? As long as they have a stem still on them you can store them for a bit depending on variety. Some I can store just in the garage wrappd in 2 sheets of newspaper until May, but generally that is with October apples. REALLY tart? Make apple jelly to use for pectin. Even if they are not sauce type, what about canning up apple pie filling?


3.  Ripening SERIOUSLY under-ripe pears.  They are not even at mature size and hard as rocks.  They are normally delicious in late October (10 weeks from now!). Bartletts will keep at this temperature for 2-3 months. Winter pears for 3-5 months.

You might be able to ripen them still on a spare counter. I have done this (but don't try 90 pounds like I did.. egads!). You can put them in boxes and go through them to see when/if they ripen. Pears do not ripen on the tree, so all the ones I pick are green when I pick them anyway. You sound like you have winter pears maybe? I have two trees of those here on the farm as well. If you are lucky to have a root cellar, put them in there (crawl space etc). Store pears at 30 degrees (and at 85-90% humidity) or as best as you can do. When you want the pears, bring them out of the cool storage -- 4-5 days for Bartletts, 5-7 for Bosch and Comice, 7-10 for Anjou. -ISH..

Need them to ripen sooner than later? Stick them in plastic bags (garbage sacks which are not treated will work) with apples or bananas.

You can also prevent branches breaking by pruning properly. My rules are -- cut off anything which goes straight down or from the underside of the branch. Cut off anything which goes back into the tree. Cut off anything which goes straight up, 6" to the main branch and 6" apart. Save anything which comes off the top and curves out to the edges of a tree, but cut at least 1/3 of it off. What you want to do is create 'springs' which will hold the weight of the fruit.


See the arches on these branches on the right side of the tree? These will act as 'springs'. Some varieties of apples and pears are more apt to have bad crotches in the tree, so also keep an eye out for that. The 15 fruit trees that were 10+ year not pruned properly I took down by half to get them down to 18' tall or so. They will look weird for 2 years, but even now, with pruning heavy, they are producing and I can see the curves which are this years growth which will likely be future years main branches.
Cedar


Offline zackandjen2004

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Re: Salvaging immature fruit from emergency thinning operation
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2013, 05:59:13 PM »
Cedar, I was hoping you'd reply. :-)  All good suggestions.  I think the branches may be a loss.  Will prune back.  Now, do you have a favorite recipe for pie filling?

Offline ag2

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Re: Salvaging immature fruit from emergency thinning operation
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2013, 07:10:29 PM »
Make alcohol fuel.

Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: Salvaging immature fruit from emergency thinning operation
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2013, 06:18:42 AM »
For the pears, keep in mind that the standard practice is to harvest them before they are ripe and ripen on the counter.  That's not just the commercial folks.  Granted, they are usually not terribly under ripe.

What I'd try to do is make cider out of the apples and pears.  Since all the starch hasn't converted, you may want to try converting it yourself using heat.  I don't have the details, but would think it's in the 150-160F range as it is when you convert the starch in grain when brewing.

Offline AngusBangus

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Re: Salvaging immature fruit from emergency thinning operation
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2014, 01:18:39 PM »
For the pears, keep in mind that the standard practice is to harvest them before they are ripe and ripen on the counter.  That's not just the commercial folks.  Granted, they are usually not terribly under ripe.

What I'd try to do is make cider out of the apples and pears.  Since all the starch hasn't converted, you may want to try converting it yourself using heat.  I don't have the details, but would think it's in the 150-160F range as it is when you convert the starch in grain when brewing.
Fritz... you're my hero.

Pear tree is bursting on my new property and I have a few gallons of honey from last year that needs to turn into alcohol before I take this year's havest.

Offline strangetanks

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Re: Salvaging immature fruit from emergency thinning operation
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2014, 06:47:46 PM »
I just pretty much went through the same thing with a mature apple tree.  Big ole branch broke off in a storm.

I have a bunch of smaller fruit trees I planted about 4 years ago too, I can relate to what you're going through.

Prune off the branches that have broken, cut them back to the next fork down.  I promise the trees don't seem to mine this kind of abuse.

As for the immature fruit, I turned all the apples that fell and the ones on the branch into cider.  It was pretty puckery stuff, but we added a generous amount of brown sugar and canned most of it.  Made a few batches of juice with it so far and I have to say its pretty good if you add some lemons and make it up like lemonade or mix it with iced tea.

As for stuff thats super not ripe yet, I recall there are a lot of recipes out there for chutneys.  I would also try pickling it, I try pickling everything.  I've had some bummers and some really awesome stuff come out of it over the years.


Offline oktheniknow

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Re: Salvaging immature fruit from emergency thinning operation
« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2014, 09:56:01 PM »
Make wine :)