Sunday, February 13, 2011

Historic fruits

The earliest advertisement I can find for the importation of damson fruit trees is a shipment from Sydney on the 21st of August 1851 in the New Zealander. I suspect a lot of even earlier settlers would have brought fruit trees with them but this advertisement gives a list of varieties, most of which are new to me.
  • Peaches; Newington, Royal George, Bellegrade.
  • Pears; Windsor, Beurre, Jargonelle.
  • Plums; Golden Drop, Green Gage, Egg, South American, Orleans, Damson.
  • Apples; Permain, Mobb's Royal, French Codlin, Ribstane Pippin, Red Colville.
  • Figs; Malta and Spanish.
  • Nectarines, Filbert, Mulberry, Loquat trees, Quinces, Cherries etc.

Today the topic of fruit is very much on my mind. I'd forgotten to order the damson plums from the Hawkes Bay and thought I'd missed the season, but I was delighted to find the season is in full swing and my plums will arrive this week.
If you have ever tasted damson plum jam, you would never again buy the insipid concoctions the supermarkets offer.

Next month is guava time for making jelly. I gave most of it away last year and ran very short of it, so I'll be making a lot this year if I can get them. The little trees grow like weeds in Auckland and many people don't ever do anything with the fruit except let it rot on the ground - what a waste and it tastes divine. Pick a bucket of mature and immature fruits to get the jelly to set and taste the best.

Other favourites are Crabb apple jelly and Golden Queen peaches.


  1. My father planted a lot of guava at our home in Waitara, Taranaki, and they grew really well. We children used to sit and eat them straight from the bushes. And every year Mum made jelly from the crab apple tree at the front. I remember the muslin bag hanging in the laundry as she drained what she needed from the stewed up fruit. Ahhhh childhood memories.

  2. Kiwi Nomad, our mother used to bottle the golden queen peaches and make this damson jam every year, she used to leave the pips in too.. and as kids, we soon got used to spotting them on our toast.
    My jelly bag is suspended from my step stool with a bent clothes hanger, ugly but it works. Some ideas are worth hanging on to.