After Apple Picking

“And I keep hearing from the cellar bin
The rumbling sound
Of load on load of apples coming in.
For I have had too much
Of apple-picking: I am overtired
Of the great harvest I myself desired.”
(from “After Apple Picking” by Robert Frost)

IMG_0927The one mature apple tree on our property has started breaking under the weight of all its apples.

We pruned it fairly aggressively at the end of the winter, but apparently we didn’t go nearly far enough.  When it is free of apples, the tree has a beautiful shape.  Now, bending dramatically under all that fruit, it looks more like Carrot Top on a bad hair day.

There will be a thorough pruning this winter, now that we see what needs to be done.  In the meantime, however, there is the matter of all those apples.  We don’t know what kind of apple tree it is.  What we do know is that the apples aren’t particularly tasty.

That’s right.  We are the proud owners of thousands of exceptionally mediocre apples.

IMG_0930But even a mediocre apple is far, far better than no apples at all, and the sheer bounty put forth by this tree is nothing to sneeze at.  In fairness, as time goes by, the fruit has improved in quality, gaining in sweetness and improving in texture from where it was a month ago.  The improvements were such that I started thinking how wasteful it seemed that we weren’t making use of them, other than feeding them by the bucket loads to the pigs.  So, yesterday, I went out and collected several bagfuls.  I didn’t even pick them from the tree; I just collected them off the ground, passing over the ones that bugs or goats had already nibbled.  And then I did it again today.

And then I made apple sauce.

A lot of apple sauce.

IMG_0921It was one of those it-takes-a-village kind of projects.  Friends visited, people took turns with the peeling and chopping.  Kids brought apple cores and peelings in succession to the grateful piglets.  We cooked, we pureed, we cooled, we bagged.

And then we did it all over again.

And we didn’t make a dent.

Because Frost was right.  Not many people can do justice to what an apple tree has to offer.  The abundance brought forth by a fruit-bearing tree can be overwhelming.

This, I believe, is what is sometimes referred to as a “luxury problem.”  I have more apples than I can bear to process.  The ridiculous amount of fruit being given me freely is rotting on the ground before I can manage to turn it into sauce, or cider, or pie.

IMG_0925But turn it I will continue to try.  Because there is something so deeply gratifying about transforming all of that fruit into food for the winter.  We will make as much apple sauce as we can stand, but the real dream is to be able to make our own cider.  One day, we’ll have that cider press and then… well, then the pigs will just have to share.

About applewoodfarm

Restaurateur, farmer, bartender, beekeeper, friend, wife, mother, dog lover, cat tolerater, chicken hypnotizer, blogger, and sometime yogi
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4 Responses to After Apple Picking

  1. Bill says:

    Yay apple sause! I admire your refusal to willingly allow all those apples to go to waste. I have a neighbor who finally cut his tree down because it was producing so many apples and attracting all the critters who like to eat them. That blew my mind. As far as I know he never considered giving them away or putting up any of them.
    When I moved back here the old orchard was too far gone to be saved. So we replanted, using semi-dwarf rootstock. So far the trees give us a few apples each year, but we’re still looking forward to having your problem.
    When I was a kid my mother (who like you didn’t want to waste any apples) made apple sause, apple butter, apple juice, and fried apples. We never dried any, but she did when she was a girl.
    Good luck finding a use for them. I’m sure your pigs are hoping you’ll surrender soon. 🙂

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