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Our Apple Harvest

18 November 2008

Yesterday, Marsha asked what we were going to do with all those apples in the photo of one of our apple trees. The answer is, probably nothing.

Gasp!

See, that’s the leftovers. And the temps went down into the teens last night, so although I went to our neighbors whose kids have come to pick apples earlier in the season (the White Trash family and the Illegal Immigrant family) and told them to pick whatever they wanted before the freeze came, I think those are there to stay.

But we don’t feel bad about not doing anything with those apples, and I’ll show you why:

Representative of our apple harvest

See the blue tupperware? That’s a 4-liter container (so, almost 2 gallons). Filled with applesauce. This is our fifth full container of the season. Whenever we’ve run out, the Consort has made another batch of applesauce for us to eat.

Not only that, but you notice the quart jar in the picture? That’s one of 20 jars of applesauce we put away for the winter. (That’s more than one quart a week for the winter months!)

Also? The pie dish underneath it? That represents the bags of frozen pre-sliced apples in the freezer. Enough for three apple pies.

Oh, the Consort also made some dried apple rings. We don’t have a dryer (it is an energy hog), so he did these in the oven. They aren’t completely dry (i.e., they won’t keep all that long), so we have been snacking on them in the past week or so.

And that big 5-gallon (so it says; it seems like more to me!) bucket? Full of apples. It’s one of two we’ve got. Did I mention, full of apples?

I’ve also made two apple cakes (really, sheet cakes — in 9 x 13 baking dishes), with a recipe very similar to this one. (I prefer it without the frosting, the girls like it better with the frosting — either way, it’s delicious.)

We’re having a professorial get-together tomorrow evening, and originally I was going to make a third apple cake. But then I happened upon an apple tart in puff pastry. And I think I may make that, instead. (But without the homemade puff pastry, I don’t have the time this week.)

So, yeah. We don’t feel guilty about the apples left on the tree.

Edit: I forgot to mention the apples we just ate off the tree, every day!

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13 Comments leave one →
  1. Three of Four permalink
    18 November 2008 9:03 am

    Oh, yum!

  2. 18 November 2008 9:18 am

    Oh, yum. I wish I had an apple tree.

  3. 18 November 2008 9:23 am

    Wow. That’s a lotta apples.

  4. 18 November 2008 10:57 am

    4-liter tupperware of applesauce, is what I think you meant.

    Two other things: we had way too many apples this year because we weren’t here to remove 2/3 of the crop before they start to grow. Letting that many apples grow on your tree can be harmful to the tree, and we probably won’t get anymore next year.

    Also, boy what I wouldn’t give for a nice apple cider press. This year especially. Then we would have used them all!

    Hm. Maybe that goes on my christmas list.

  5. Peaceable Imperatrix permalink*
    18 November 2008 11:18 am

    You’re right, Consort. I fixed the text.

    Good, your Christmas list has officially been started.

  6. 18 November 2008 12:32 pm

    My kids want an apple tree in our back yard. Would you mind expanding on the plus/minus points of having an apple tree in your own back yard? One assumes that a courteous apple tree grower locates the tree away from property lines and perhaps does not want to have the tree behind a fence, so as to facilitate sharing with the neighbors. What else should be taken into consideration?

  7. isabelita permalink
    18 November 2008 12:42 pm

    Oh, boy, that apple cake and its frosting look scrumptious. I think if I added some maple flavor to the frosting, it would be utterly irresistible to certain parties around here…

  8. 18 November 2008 4:11 pm

    Wow, I am impressed with all this domestic craftiness. We have a pear tree that needs to be cross-pollinated (or needs “mating”, as the guy who sold us the house said), so the pears are bitter. But man oh man, do the squirrels love it around here.

  9. 18 November 2008 6:11 pm

    I just tossed a bowl of apples to the cows, who were mooing all night. They weren’t even interested. They’ve been separated from their babies. I hate this time of year.

    Apple cake. Want some. Now.

  10. 18 November 2008 9:07 pm

    Freeze them! If not, holler and I’ll give you a wondeful Apple Crisp recipe.
    It could always be worse, you know. You could be married to a lunatic that thinks you and two 70-year-old plus women can make 20 bushels of apples into apple butter!

  11. 19 November 2008 9:39 am

    Cate,

    PI asked me to respond to your question. The first thing is that if you want a single apple tree you need to be a little careful about what you select. Most apple trees are self-fertile (meaning that they can produce fruit when fertilized by their own pollen), but some are much better at it than others. You will want to ask the nursery person about this, but generally you want a tree that blooms when it is warmer out, because self-fertilization doesn’t work well in the cold (I don’t know why–probably you need a lot more pollen and there aren’t enough bees when it’s cold). McIntosh is a good self-fertile apple, for example.

    You probably want to buy a dwarf tree. They are not nearly as small as they sound, and they produce fruit a lot more quickly than standard apple trees. They also won’t take up as much room. Our tree is not a dwarf, though it looks small in the picture (PI must have taken that from a ladder, I think). That makes it hard to prune correctly and it keeps wanting to send up a zillion weak, straight branches that are not healthy (because we weren’t here last year, you can see a ton of them in the picture). You will want to prune your tree once a year, usually in late winter. There are lots of websites that can tell you how to do that. Don’t worry if you mess up–you can hardly do a worse job than I did my first year, and we still get plenty of apples.

    There are a number of pests that attack apples, and you want to think about how you are going to deal with them. The reason why the worm in the apple is such an iconic image is because back before everyone used pesticides, worms just came with the territory. We don’t spray, and the apples are great, but most look terrible and you have to be a little careful when you eat them (it’s easy to avoid eating worms because you will see the hole and you just have to be careful when you get near it). If you want apples like you get in the store, you will be using sprays.

    Go to an orchard and taste a bunch of varieties. As you probably know, they taste way different right off the tree, and you’ll have this tree for the next 20 years, so you want to make sure that you choose a great variety.

    Oh, and keep the trunk wrapped near the base for the first few years, because otherwise many animals will gnaw on it. Apple wood apparently tastes great.

    That’s all I can think of. Have fun!

  12. 19 November 2008 1:28 pm

    Thanks IC! My kids always want to buy me an apple tree for Mother’s Day (I usually distract them with flowers and/or shrubs) but maybe next year will be the year they will get lucky. 🙂

  13. 19 November 2008 9:18 pm

    Wow, I am SO checking back in with you guys for advice when/if we ever decide to plant an apple tree in our yard. (Which, I’m afraid, is unlikely to happen, since we have a pretty shady yard and I’m guessing those things need full sun, right?)

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