Making the most of wormy fruit...brave and frugal mamas, let's talk about this. - Mothering Forums

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Old 08-04-2008, 07:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We have a plum tree in our backyard. This is the first year it has borne fruit. I discovered that most of the plums have a single tiny worm inside them. The worm appears to live in the pit, which decays, and eventually the plum drops off the tree, but the outside flesh of the plum looks pretty good. I am in my kitchen right now carving the good bits off the plums and discarding the wormy bits.

This feels very radical to me, LOL, because I grew up in the US in the 1970s-1980s when supermarket produce was picture-perfect, identical, unblemished, and waxed (for goodness sake!!). It has taken me a long time to get to where I am less squeamish about produce that has blemishes. But let's face it - I have a tree absolutely full of (totally laden down with!) plums, and about half of each plum is edible, so I ought to make use of them, right?

My German friend, who is probably 15 years older than me, says that where she grew up, everyone had plum trees and everyone just ate around the worms.

So I feel like a squeamish American, LOL, but I recognize that I am a product of my culture and it's not my fault... I want to overcome it, though, and provide better for my family. The plums smell absolutely delicious.

Talk to me about making the most of wormy and blemished fruit! Are there rules to follow to keep the eaters from getting sick? I think there must be some wisdom about this that has escaped my generation. I also have four apple trees, and every single apple we have every gotten has been deformed and ugly. They make good applesauce, though, right?

Help me learn how to bravely and safely approach this new world! :

Amanda, mom to Everest (12), Alden (10-1/2), Ellery (7-1/2), & Avery (6)
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Old 08-04-2008, 07:21 PM
 
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I don't know anything about the plums sorry. The apples if you thin them (cut off some of them before they get big enough to eat) You will get better , bigger fruit that looks more appealing!
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Old 08-04-2008, 07:22 PM
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Hmmm.....I see a LOT of plum jam in your future.


And remember - the only thing worse than finding a worm in your plum is....

Finding HALF a worm in your plum! :Puke
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Old 08-04-2008, 07:30 PM
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Oh, and I also wanted to add:

You'll need to have your trees treated next spring - just as the flowers are beginning to fall off.
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Old 08-04-2008, 07:40 PM
 
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We do this all the time.

For plums, I'd just cut them into slices, so you can see what you're getting. I cut around any parts that look tunneled through or nibbled on, but most of the plum is usually just fine. As an added bonus, my family (and I) is way more likely to eat fruit if it's cut up and then served. You can also use the slices to cook with - jam, tarts, etc.

For apples, I do pretty much the same thing, except they usually require more trimming. Our apples tend to have kind of thready brownish marks in side them, which I assume are worm trails, but I do not know for sure. I just trim those off. I even (gasp) trim off any squirrel gnaw marks and use the rest of those apples too, so I'm definitely hard core on saving fruit, I guess! The apples that grow around our house are usually pretty tart, so I tend to make a lot of jelly, apple butter, apple sauce, and pies out of them.

Also, even if you by chance did eat a worm (which is very unlikely if you slice the fruit up and look for worm tunnels), you wouldn't get sick (unless you noticed you ate it!).
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Old 08-04-2008, 07:42 PM
 
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And if it gives you any courage, we get a ton of jam, apple sauce, and pies out of our apple and plum trees. I occasionally buy a different kind of jam for variety, but we definitely don't need to. I always have extra that I give to friends as well, and it makes a nice, frugal hostess or holiday gift.
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Old 08-04-2008, 08:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh, thanks for the encouragement!

Our plums are ripening only a bowlful at a time - not enough for jam - is there some way I can put them up in small amounts, like flash freezing?

Thank you for the encouragement!

I know it probably sounded silly, but I think that for thousands of years people have likely dealt with things like this and not even blinked.

I don't intend to get our fruit trees sprayed, though. We spend more for organic at the store, and I'm not about to put chemicals on my home trees. And I assume it is $$$$ - though if you have info that it is safe and cheap I might consider it.

Thanks, I don't feel like such a far-out mama now.

Amanda, mom to Everest (12), Alden (10-1/2), Ellery (7-1/2), & Avery (6)
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Old 08-04-2008, 08:54 PM
 
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Cut out the bad parts, use the rest.

We haven't sprayed or baggied or done anything at all to our apple trees, so codling moths and apple maggots have had a grand ole time. I snag some for relish, some for applesauce and/or pie filling, and the more hole-ridden ones become apple cider and deer food (we leave the cider-press squished pieces out on the driveway for the deer - they don't eat straight from the trees this way).

Yup, if you're just going to make jam, just wash and smush the fruit and freeze. You'll want it slightly liquidy for jam/jelly anyway, so using frozen fruit is just fine. I've been doing that with our raspberries as getting 5 cups whole at one single time isn't really gonna happen with just the neighborhood raspberries we're getting. So I wash (getting one neighbor's dog hair off the berries!), mash up with a fork so I don't have to pull out my food processor (I hate doing dishes), and throw into a container in the freezer. When it's full, I thaw and make a batch of jam. Works pretty well.

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Old 08-04-2008, 09:27 PM
 
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I've made a yummy pie filling with apple and plum slices. I add sugar and assortment of spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, etc) and cook it on the stove, then freeze in containers or bags. At thanksgiving, I thaw it and put it in some raw pie crusts and bake it. Sooo delicious.
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Old 08-04-2008, 10:21 PM
 
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I remember stories my grandma used to tell about canning cherries, and there would be a layer of dead worms on the top. They would just skim them off and eat the cherries. I certainly wouldn't be throwing fruit away over one worm. I probalby wouldn't eat it raw, just because it would give me hebbie jeebies about the cooties, but like the other person said, lots of plum jam! lol
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Old 08-05-2008, 04:24 AM
 
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I havent tried it but I have read you can spray with hot chili pepper spray to prevent worms might be worth looking into.

Dh's Granny has a yellow cherry tree that always has little worms I wash an pit everything then soak them in some lemon juice rinse and make jelly. Shrug I figure if I miss any of the little boogers they will just add protein to the jam. lol
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Old 08-05-2008, 11:24 AM
 
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We had fruit trees growing up, I remembered with some of the fruit (I think cherries) we wound up soaking even and I think they floated to the top.

Funny, but now that I do organic you pick, etc. I feel better actually when I see little bugs worms because I know it's not chemical laden!

Perpetually breastfeeding or pregnant ENFP mom to a lot of kids...wife to a midwestern nice guy...living in tropical paradise...pink cats and homebirths rock!

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Old 08-05-2008, 12:20 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bender View Post
I've made a yummy pie filling with apple and plum slices. I add sugar and assortment of spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, etc) and cook it on the stove, then freeze in containers or bags. At thanksgiving, I thaw it and put it in some raw pie crusts and bake it. Sooo delicious.
Instead of freezing in bags, next time try freezing in a pie plate. When the filling is frozen, pop it out of the pie plate and put in a large freezer bag. When it's time to fill the pie you can just pop the frozen filling straight into the shell, and put it directly into the oven with no thawing.

As far as wormy fruit goes, it doesn't bother me. I make plum jam from my grandmother's plums, and applesauce from my parent's apples. I always find little worms - just cut around them. I'd rather eat a wormy piece of fruit than one doused in chemical pesticides.
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Old 08-05-2008, 01:08 PM
 
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Eeek. Trying to read this and have an open mind - but its not working. I cannot wrap my mind around that and certainly wouldn't be able to eat the fruit! YIKES!
Kudos to you and your bravery!

Loving Mother to our adoption miracle, Riana :, and our angel baby, Xavier. Trying for baby. Wife to my Hero! BLOG LINK IN PROFILE
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Old 08-05-2008, 03:13 PM
 
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I'm with you Authentic Mother--- just the thought of it is making me queasy... I give all you frugal mamas lots of applause for doing something that I could never do.
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Old 08-05-2008, 10:54 PM
 
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I think you're doing exactly the right thing. Cut off the icky part, use the good part. Sure it's hard to overcome social conditioning, but there's absolutely nothing wrong with what you're doing.

New signature, same old me: Ann- mama of 2 boys and 2 girls, partnered to a fabulous man.
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Old 08-05-2008, 11:25 PM
 
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Sounds perfectly reasonable to me, and I'm not very brave.

We picked enough cherries for a few pies this year and of course there were some worms. I assume all of them floated to the top, but if there were any that didn't..eh. I'm sure I've accidentally eaten worse.

However, I didn't mention the worms to DP. No need to have him worrying.
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Old 08-05-2008, 11:53 PM
 
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We had fruit trees when I was growing up so I got pretty good at eating around the worms. Nothing wrong with it.

Let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence within you.)0(
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