Twenty-nine years ago it may have seemed like a good idea to plant a dozen apple trees.
Through the years, we lost a few trees to deer and the cold winter weather but we replaced most of those. We now have eleven trees remaining with nine of them having started producing in earnest in the last five years or so. However, last year due to a cold spell on Mother’s Day which froze most of the blossoms, we only had 6 surviving apples—actually only 5 since a wild turkey got one before we did.
Imagine our surprise when every tree in our apple orchard produced abundantly this year.
The tree branches were bowing under the weight with some resting on the ground making for easy picking for me and others.
This past month, I have almost (but not quite) had my fill of fresh apple slices.
In addition, I’ve sauced them,
turned them into delicious pies,
crisps, baked apples, and apple dumplings.
I’ve even canned several jars of cinnamon apple rings.
My husband took 4 gallons of cider to a local vintner to be made into wine.
My husband and I work together to dry many of them, some plain and some sprinkled with cinnamon.
And we’ve given lots of apples away to friends and family. We’ve even sold 5 boxes to a local food co-op.
But the majority of those luscious red or yellow apples gets pulverized into cider with our hand-crank cider press.
It’s quite a process and we rely on family and friends to help us.
Even the little ones bring apples from the trees or put them in the water. They taste test some of them too.
Everyone’s efforts are rewarded with a meal or two at our table (including at least one but usually several apple items) and lots of cider and apples to take home.
So far we’ve made 213 gallons of cider this year. That’s a lot of washing, cutting, and pressing of apples happening at our house over the last four weekends.
So where do we store all this cider? We keep a few gallons in the refrigerator to drink for 7-10 days. The rest gets put in the freezer. No, we don’t have enough freezer room for it all ourselves nor could we drink all of it even if we did. So we call our friends and family for help. Unfortunately for us, they are no longer answering our calls and we still have 3 trees left to pick.
What I Learned Today:
- There is nothing as good as a freshly picked apple; it is sinfully crisp and sweet.
- I am running out of apple recipes to make.
- The difference between apple cider and apple juice is that apple cider is unfiltered and uncooked and apple juice is clear because it’s been filtered and is cooked. Cider can be pasteurized (that’s usually how you find it in the store).
- My husband and I prefer to drink fresh-pressed raw apple cider but we tell others how to pasteurize it if they want.
- It’s nice to have a large family and lots of friends especially during apple harvest season.
- My husband is planning one final cider-making fun day for this season; that’s what he said last week.
Questions: Are you an “eat them fresh” or “bake with them” kind of apple person? What do you make with apples?
Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts for Let’s Bee Social (button on the sidebar)
Beth at Cooking Up Quilts for Main Crush Monday (button on the sidebar)
Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Can I Get a Whoop Whoop? (button on the sidebar)
Love Laugh Quilt for Monday Making