Monday, August 29, 2011

Give me spots on my apples

It's applesauce making time and every time I use apples from our wild growing apple trees I am reminded of Joni Mitchell's song "Big Yellow Taxi".

Hey farmer farmer, put away that DDT
Give me spots on my apples
But leave the birds and the bees

And believe me our wild growing apples have plenty of spots.  But as with most spots, they are only superficial and the flesh of the fruit is beautiful.  Actually, the spots are ok to eat too and like the cherry tomatoes and the blueberries, I cannot seem to go out and pick apples without a few ending up in my stomach.

It is actually quite amazing at the number of apple trees growing on this farm.  There was an actual small orchard in the yard dating back way before we bought this farm and some of those trees still exist, but most are getting older and hollowed out so every year or two we lose another one in a wind storm.  But there are plenty of others growing wild.  They grow in the pasture and on the creek bank along the edge of the yard.  They grow along the fenceline with our neighbors and in the woods that run alongside the fields.  Like all things growing wild in nature, some years the trees produce a lot and some years none at all.  This year is one of the best apple producing years I have ever seen.  We will use only a fraction of what is there.  The deer will certainly be having a feast this fall.

Last year our trees had almost zero apples on them so I had to buy apples from the local farmer's market to make my applesauce.  Not a bad thing at all, but I enjoy going out and picking the apples as part of the whole process.  I wrote the recipe and process of making applesauce in last year's blog "Monday Apples" so you'll have to follow the link to get that info.  Wild grown apples do take a bit more time to peel and slice since they are smaller, but the satisfaction factor is that much greater.  I'll make at least 2 if not 3 slow cooker loads of sauce this year.  That will leave plenty of apples for things like apple crisp and apple pie and apple cheesecake.  Fortunately though, fresh apples will keep awhile because I have several containers of blackberries and blueberries that I need to use first.  Summer's bounty is upon us.