Home-grown apples! Too many!
We bought our house from an aging couple a few years ago, and the young apple tree they planted before they sold us the property is absolutely LADEN with fruit this year. I guess it has fully matured and aims to be fruitful and multiply. I think it's a Golden Delicious tree, though of course the apples are a bit "hardier" and more "rustic" than the ones we buy at the grocery store.
Anyway, there's literally hundreds of apples on the danged thing, and though we are healthy, fruit-eating folk, there's just too many to eat raw. Any ideas as to how to preserve these beauties? We don't eat much jelly, so that's a non-starter. Other than applesauce, what are my options? Does applesauce preserve well?
I have some basic understanding of the canning process, having hung out in the kitchen as my grandparents canned literally tons of produce back in the day, so I guess I could handle the process. Or maybe I could just sit on the side of the road and sell them by the pound?
We also have some beautiful Bosch pear trees coming to fruition. Lucky us. Hear me now: if you live in a semi-tropical environment like the Deep South, plant a few fruit trees. Free food, little to no maintenance. Good stuff.
Applesauce is really easy to can, and a good introduction to the process.
Apple BUTTER was the oldtimers traditional way to deal with the surplus: more concentrated.
If they are the mealier softer fleshed Delicious, they won't hold structure as well for pies, but will do a good applesauce/butter to the viscosity of your choosing.
I can applesauce every year. It is one of the many items I can and give away. It is one of my most requested items because there is no comparison between homemade applesauce and store bought. In addition last year I made a recipe-Apple & Apple Cider Marmelade out of Fancy Pantry by Helen Witty. It was fabulous. If you are interested I can paraphrase for you.
Please. I can give that sort of thing away to friends and relatives.
I'll start picking tomorrow. It's funny, the tree has literally almost collapsed under the weight of all the apples. I guess I need to bone up on apple tree pruning.
The apples are pretty crisp, whether due to varietal or to the fact that we don't irrigate. But they're delicious.
You guys are great!
re: uptown jimmy
A Marmalade of Apples & Apple Cider from Fancy Pantry by Helen Witty
2 # firm, tart apples
2 cups water, or as needed
Juice of 1/2 lemon
3 cups freshly pressed sweet apple cider
3 cups sugar
1. Make a pectin stock with skins & cores of washed and drained apples and 2 cups of water. Put the peeled quartered apples in acidulated water while cooking the stock.
2. After the stock comes to a boil, cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook until the skins and cores are very tender. Usually takes about 1/2 hr.
3. Put the contents of the stock pan through a food mill set over a bowl and try to get as much pulp through the mill as possible. The skin and cores can be discarded while you return the pulp to the pot.
4. Combine the sugar & cider with the pulp, bring to a boil over medium heat and boil for 3 minutes.
5. You can either slice the apples thinly or grate them coarsely and add to stock/cider mixtures. Bring back to a boil while stirring vigorously. You need to then cook uncovered until the apples are translucent and it has thickened. This will take a while 30-40 minutes per the recipe but it may take longer. Stir it often so it doesn't burn or stick. It says you can add more water if it thickens before the apples are cooked through. Test it for doneness by putting a tablespoon on a chilled saucer and putting it in the fridge. If it congeals it is done. Then it is ready for canning.
another option, if you like to make pies or crumbles, etc, is to chop & cook apple filling for these-- skin & chop apples, cook slowly w a little lemon juice, maybe some brown sugar, spices, optional other fruits (i like dried cranberries). you can then freeze the filling and use your apple harvest all winter. even if you *don't* bake, this stuff is delicious on top of granola, with yogurt, on top of pancakes, as a spread on a ham sandwich. . .
you can get a juicer, juice your apples, pour into gallon jugs, and freeze.
My sister gets lots of apples from a neighbor. They make applesauce, apple cider, apple cider vinegar, fruit leather, dried apples, etc. They have a CSA so they have farm days so participants can help press the cider.