Monday, September 24, 2007

Harvesting apples

The apple trees in our garden are still very young, 4 years old and are beginning to provide a decent harvest. Last year I invited a friend around in January to show me how to prune them for more fruit as they were a bit shapeless and neglected and the result has been fine. If we had removed some of the fruit at the young stage ( June) then we could have had bigger apples, but we are quite fond of small apples for lunch boxes and they fit neatly in a small boys hands.

The winds have been blowing and I have spotted the resident squirrel coming to put its teethmarks in the apples so decided yesterday was the day to harvest the majority of them. Some windfalls were left on the ground for the woodlice, mice and voles and other windfalls were gathered in the cardboard box. These will be juiced over the next few days. I do not recall the apple variety but it is definitely an eating apple and reminded us of the poisoned apple in Snowhite. Its lovely though.

We will be keeping the apples in a basket in a well aired place. Our harvest is not large enough to warrant an apple store. Apples can be wrapped in tissue paper and put on trays, separated which will enable some to be kept over the winter months.

Some will be cut up and frozen to keep ready for apple pies and some will be canned for apple sauce. Mostly, they will be enjoyed as fresh as possible.

Succession in an orchard is the key. One of our trees gave fruit late August ( Owen Thomas), followed by the current one in September and October will hopefully give us a small harvest of Egremont Russet. I love the names of the varieties.

Evenings are getting cooler and sitting on the back porch we met with 2 toads enjoying the drizzly rain and spotted a small pippistrel bat wanting to come in for shelter. Years ago I would not have noticed the wildlife around here, and now, with awareness, a lot more is visible to the naked eye.


gary said...

It's a good-looking harvest.

Regards, Gary

Moonwaves said...

I'm going to the Irish Seedsavers apple day this weekend. Really looking forward to it and hope I'll be able to buy some native varieties of apple for canning. As I'm at the beginning of my canning career, can I just ask you what you do? Do you use a pressure canner or a boiling one? Or do you just put the hot apple sauce into hot jars and not process it any further? Thanks for any tips.

Downshiftingpath said...

Hi Moonwaves

I'll post in detail tomorrow on the process.Its an excellent question, I am on year 2 so will share my experience on 26th September 2007.