Savor the flavors of everyday real food, fresh from the garden or stored on your pantry shelves.
The Year of the Apple, and Why
This is undoubtedly the "year of the apple" in Connecticut, and I suspect in other states as well. No matter how many bushels we pick and process, there are still more apples waiting in the trees and on the ground. In the 24 years since planting our organic, mini-orchard we have never had an overly abundant season like this before! I called the UCONN Extension office to ask why, and this is what was explained. Warm, sunny spring weather encouraged the bees to actively pollinate the apple blossoms. Then we had a dry summer with plenty of sunshiny days, which helped the fruit to grow well. The dry weather also discouraged the growth of powdery mildew and other fungal infections. In other words, perfect apple growing weather!
It was also explained that we should have culled 2/3 of the apples in early spring, leaving only the largest apple in each cluster. Apparently, apples don't grow in the same spot on the branch two years in a row. Practically every spot on every branch was laden with apples this summer, which unfortunately means there won't be many apples next season and the trees may be thrown into an every-other-year cycle of production. More reason to put up as much as possible right now to carry us through a couple of years!
Here's the tally so far - Scroll down for the associated photos
23 quarts of dried apple rings, most flavored with ceylon cinnamon
30 pints of unsweetened applesauce: raspberry-apple, tart-apple, spiced-apple
15 half pints of apple butter
28 vacuum sealed packages in the freezer - 6-cup portions for making pies
6 deep dish pies (made with hardly any sugar or other sweetener)
3 gallons of hard cider; sweet cider in the works
We've given bushels away; the kids at my daycare center, Room To Grow have eaten a couple of bushels; there's a bushel of grade A apples chilling in a spare refrigerator; there are several bushels of grade B apples waiting to be processed; bushels still on the trees and ground. Definitely a banner year!
View more photos of how I made these dried apple rings at A Life Well Planted.
Unsweetened applesauce made with just apples and a bit of lemon.
Apple butter - we use it like jam.
Frozen apple slices to be used later on for pie making. We don't use citric acid and as you can see the apples are fine. The packages are different colors due to the variance in apples (we have 7 varieties). We use a FoodSaver to vacuum seal the packages, and thus the contents store better and longer. You don't need an expensive one, ours is the entry level and it does the job.
Are you also experiencing a "bumper crop of a lifetime"? If so, comment below and tell us all about it!
All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Best Blogging Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.