Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Apple Heaven

Mother Nature really is a bit of a poppet.She has come up trumps this year and ensured that every blossom on my beautiful apple trees have yielded fruit. What a star!

I'm not sure quite how it happened...perhaps the lack of a late frost...or maybe the abundant rain last year. Whatever the reason - I've had an Appley year.

My eating apple tree for example - most years this old rickety tree only gives me a couple of dozen apples. Little ones which are bullet hard and stick to the roof of you mouth and dry your lips when you try to eat them.
This autumn however, my wonderful tree has produced at least three or four hundred apples, all sweet, juicy, rosy and shiny. What a clever thing.
Now,there is a rumour that when a tree does this, it's possibly a bit of a swan song, but I'm holding out hope that Mother Nature isn't going to be that mean, and this dear old tree is just in a voluptuous part of yearly cycles.

My cookers are still dropping daily. I'm about to make my last batch of chutney and then I'll leave the rest to the birds and fluffy things that jump over the fence of the bottom field, into my garden for a nibble.

A couple of weeks ago, on a very sunny warm October day, my neighbours and friends got together for an apple pressing day. We've all had more apples than ever, and this seemed the best way of using up natures bounty instead of leaving it to rot.
We hired a local apple press, stood it in my garden and started pressing. It was a mini co-operative. Everyone chipped in £5 for the hire, all helped press the juice and then we shared the delicious nectar between us all. Fabulous.

Lordy, so much juice. Surprisingly sweet (even from the cookers) and absolutely delicious. We poured it into into old milk cartons and bottles,then froze most. (It keeps in the fridge for about 3 days un-pasteurised...longer if you pasteurise yourself). I find freezing best though.

The rest?
Well I've filled two demi-johns with apple juice and they are bubbling and fermenting noisily next to my Aga. I'll give it a bit longer, bottle it up and in six months we'll all get together for a Cider and Sausage night - I fear this potential evil brew might make the evening a little messy...but enormous fun!