[Unripe Quandongs, July 2011]
"Not only can its flesh be turned into nice jellies, jams and pies, it is also stuffed to the limits with Vitamin C and houses quite a number of valuable minerals. Furthermore, it may be dried and stored. The kernel contains valuable proteins and is rich in oil. The plant itself is not very fussy about different soil conditions and climates, nor about water quality. It is therefore, in economical terms, a potentially valuable plant which can be grown in the drier parts of the country, too. However, trying to "domesticate the quandong", as one scientist put it, is not all that easy." - Australian Plants Online
Being the middle of winter (and, as is expected of this time of year, being terribly cold), I hadn't expected to find fruit appearing on trees, yet that is exactly what I've found on our quandongs (Australian native/wild peach) late last month when I was wandering through the garden.
It was only in October of last year that I was making crumble pie with stewed quandongs picked fresh that week, so when I noticed the trees were in fruit again I thought it a little early. Quandongs in the Flinders Ranges ripe around September/October, so fruit wouldn't normally start to appear until August/September, depending on the weather.
So, it looks as though my trees are two months early to fruit. I can't help but think all the La Nina rain we had during the summer months is at fault, just as it was to blame for confusing the bulbs and leading them to flower unseasonally early - in autumn rather than spring.
I'm hoping that the frosty winter weather won't damage the fruit. For me, the end of spring and the advent of summer has always been announced with the ripening of quandongs.
I'll continue to eagerly watch their progress over the coming weeks (months?), and I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for fine produce!