Apples, Apples, Apples
Makin and Doin' with Apples....
They won't keep ALL winter, so....
Only four apple trees in what is left of what was formerly a lovely orchard.
Then the original owners built our home when the orchard was sold off as half-acre lots. Finally an illegal portion that stood alone had its apple trees cut down rather than having someone spray them as required now by law.
We finally bought that quarter-acre piece and have added two walnut trees, Asian pear trees, peach trees of several varieties, 23 apricot trees growing tall like a windbreak, a hardy fig, a Golden Delicious, two varieties of cherries, a quince tree, plus strawberries, blackberries, and even a Ginkgo Biloba tree.
That's not all! Our original house lot has three apple trees,raspberries, some Goji Berry bushes, and two varieties of grapes.
Fruits-wise we are self-sufficient, not to mention the herbs, vegetable garden, and our health store business which is also on the property.
Right now, though, we have a problem. While we have preserved most of the other fruits we didn't consume in their seasonal profusion, we still have apples, apples, apples!
Currently, we (my wife, that is; imperial "we" or something like that) are/is peeling, dehydrating, saucing, buttering, and making "Heavenly Flakes" fruit leather which melts in your mouth.
You've heard of Johnnie Appleseed? Well then, two of our most productive apple trees are said to be "the original American Delicious, before it was modified down to supermarket size." She put the seeds where they spontaneously turned into twin, side-by-side trees years ago, now they make huge apples and lots of them, lots, and lots, and lots; some of them weighing well over a pound, thus the reason for modifying them. (Some folks throw away the last half of an apple of the smaller sizes, if you can believe that!)
The Apple Butter my wife makes is definitely my favorite (other than my own apple pies, and her bottom-crust-only cookie pan pies.) That Apple Butter has to cook, and cook, and cook, to thicken. As it does so, it makes the house have the fragrance of cooking apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, and all spice; plus, it keeps the inside air from becoming too dry and leading to colds this time of the year. The fragrance is not unlike that of a hot, mincemeat pie, straight from the oven.
The dehydrated apples, and "Heavenly Flakes" fruit leather, come from our two electric dehydrators which have a total of 12 trays, and insert "shields" for when she is making fruit leather.
I forgot her Apple Cider for which she uses a steam distiller and a mix of apple varieties. If you have ever enjoyed a hot mug of apple cider with a cinnamon stick, you can appreciate draining off some of that hot cider on a cold fall day when the distiller has finished distilling the Concord grapes and is full of apple slices!
Labor intensive? You bet it is, but we both come from "waste not, want not" families. And after all, we cared for the trees, picked the apples, lugged them in (I do some of that part of the process) and sure wouldn't want those fall gems to go to waste!
With the one-woman-weight-patrol active around here (she has a brown belt in judo, is a nurse, trained physician, and master herbalist, too) if a pie gets baked it is just as likely to be by me. I claim the "Master Piece Prize" in that regard, but we both like brownie-sized slices of her one-crusters.
If you get the idea that this is an extension of the summer's "busy-ness," you are right! Which reminds me that I better get back to my computer and start writing again! Lately I just write, and write, and write.
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