One of the pleasures of my job is getting to talk with so many folks from across the country who are interested in home food preservation and consequently, in their local food resources.
Today I had a wonderful conversation with a woman from northeast Texas. She had just bought a Mehu-Liisa Steam Juicer from one of my resale partners. Although she hasn’t had a chance to use it, she had lots to say about its potential for her.
She lives on a working ranch and is a source of excellent information on wild fruits. She especially loves the Wild Hog Plums that come just a bit after domestic plums. They are small, picante and flavorful. The jam she makes from the plums can be used as a spread but also complements meat dishes. She shared stories of going plum picking on horseback. She would ride right up to the trees and pick the fruit from the saddle. She also would look for trees growing over a stream bank. These trees could be shaken and the plums picked up “like they was almonds”.
Here are a few online resources regarding Wild Hog Plums:
Wild Hog Plum Jam – skip the boiling of the plums and juice the plums instead, reserving the pulp. Put pulp through a Foley Food Mill to separate out pits. Continue with the recipe. A lot less fuss the Mehu-Liisa way!
Prickly Pear fruits (called “tuna” in Spanish) are another favorite of hers. She prefers the fruit in the more ripe purple stage – “when the wildlife is at them that’s when I pick them.” One difficult aspect of Prickly Pear processing is the “prickly” parts. Traditionally, these prickles are burnt off before processing to save hands and fingers from stab wounds. With the Mehu-Liisa Steam Juicer, she will be able to process without the arduous task of prickle removal. Also, she used to stick to the larger fruits (no pun intended) for processing but now, with the ease of use of the Mehu-Liisa, she can be more efficient and process smaller fruit as well.
Here are some Prickly Pear Fruit resources:
Interesting (kind of silly) video on eating the fruit.
Wikipedia article on Prickly Pear.
Tips on cutting and prepping Prickly Pear.
Prickly Pear Punch – substitute Mehu-Liisa steam juicing for the blender or freezer juicing methods outlined here.
Excellent blog post on processing the fruit – keep in mind, every time they talk about boiling and straining fruit, just substitute the Mehu-Liisa steam juicing – Foley Food Milling process as discussed previously.
What a wonderful way to gain knowledge of the rich food heritage that our country offers. I look forward to talking with her in the future. She said she might comment in our Tips and Recipes Forum so head on over there and see what you can find.
Take Care – Daniel
“Ask a Mehu-Liisa owner, and you will become one yourself.” Osmo Heila 1930 – 2003