August 26, 2016
Apple Processing Day
Our backyard apple tree produced 14 pounds of usable fruit this year. It took two of us, with the ladder and some careful contortioning, to harvest nearly all of it. I don't do anything to protect the fruit from the rest of Nature, no spraying and no little fruit socks. (I bought a package of fruit socks one year, and the process of getting one sock on one apple while I was still standing on the ground was challenging enough that I've never been inspired to try to do it from the top of a ladder.) The resulting fruit is occasionally occupied but rarely to the point where the entire apple is compromised. And since I'm cutting the apples up to process them anyway, it's not that big a deal to cut out the icky bits.
I now have 6 pints and 2 quarts of apple pie filling in the freezer. I expect some of the pints will be thawed and warmed for winter breakfast toppings. And any pie I make will probably need both quarts of filling. I don't do skinny pies.
And I have 20 half-pints of apple butter! This is the first year I've done apple butter, partly due to its reputation for taking hours and hours. Maybe it's just that my apples are on the softer side, but they cooked down quickly and then thickened before I'd managed to wash and sterilize all my jars. My apple butter is more intensely seasoned than the recipe, with the cinnamon quadrupled (at least) and the clove probably doubled. All the taste testers on hand declared it good before canning but I find I'm still wondering if I shouldn't have kept going with the spices.
I may surprise myself, but at the moment, I think that concludes the seasonal preserving for this year. It's less than I usually do (not mentioned: the pear preserve, the pear butter, the peach butter, the raisins, the bell peppers, and the zucchini) but I'm discovering a lack of motivation when I think of doing much more. Perhaps over the winter I'll spend some time figuring out why the things that I've done so willingly for the last decade or so suddenly have lost their shine.