We are not the first 'Gronseths' to make it to Arizona, but we are the first from our immediate family.
Dan - I do most of the blogging, photos, artwork you'll see. Came from Wisconsin to Arizona in 1986 after a bicycle trip to the lower 48 states. I've been a park ranger since the end of 1988.
Karen (Bleeker) - Karen came from South Dakota to Arizona in 1989. She has been a teacher and a teacher trainer. We met here in Arizona and were married in 1990.
Erik - Erik came along in 1996. He is pretty smart and likes math, reading, playing the Wii and watching Saturday morning cartoons.
Jakob - Jakob was born in 1999, the last of the 'old millenium' Gronseths - at least amongst our immediate family. Jakob loves people and can seldom stand to be alone for any length of time.
Shortly after the doves start opening holes in some of the earliest ripe fruit it is time to start gathering saguaro fruit. Afternoon temps are often 105 (F) or more - in the shade - and there is usually little shade to be found.
The fruit need to be picked before the birds get to them and way before they open up like these.
I look for a little pink or red at the tip and those are the ones I pick. Some saguaros have 4 or 5, some have 1 or 2 and many have none.
The dried flower comes off easily and has a sharp edge to it.
So sharp that it can be used to cut open the fruit.
The pulp inside is what I use. I cut the fruit (with a knife) and dig out the pulp with a thumb into a bowl.
When I have enough pulp, I can boil it down and remove some of the seed. This year I'm going to take out a few hundred seed first and see what I can get to grow later in the fall.
Ready? 4 cups saguaro fruit, 5 cups sugar, 1 packet of pectin. That's my secret saguaro jam recipe. I may get a few batches this year...