Sunday, October 05, 2008

Apple Picking Time

Updated below:
You know you are in the orchard and the apples are ripe when you can smell the vinegar in the air.The fallen apples have squashed and along with swarms of bees stealing bits of juice they have begun to ferment and the sweet/sour smell is almost overpowering. Everywhere you step you contribute to the riot of smells by mashing another apple or two under your feet. The bees fly up but immediately resettle on the newly mashed apples. There are plenty of apples still on the trees though and you drag your ladder around and around, spying a likely branch still loaded with ripe fruit. The bags fill up rapidly and before you know it three large grocery sacks are filled to overflowing with sweet smelling apples. Not sure of the variety but the tree is old and therefore it is not a new fangled apple but a Winesap, or Rome or some other old timer. Never mind it's name. It is sweet inside and even though it doesn't look like the grocery store apple, all polished and clean, its dull, blackspotted skin protects the juicy crunch inside and it will make fine apple butter or even applesauce.

Madam and I have been down the road apple picking apples this afternoon. A friend owns a large chunk of property including what remains of her family's farm (probably the first farm in this part of Georgia that wasn't a Cherokee farm). There are still old, old apple, pear, peach and persimmon trees scattered about the property and she invited us down to help ourselves as there we more than she and her partner could handle. The first batch of apple butter is in the crockpot and there are apples for at least two more.

Update: The first batch of apple butter is done. A large crockpot full of pared, cored and slice apples cooked down to 4 and a half pints of rich dark apple butter. All out of the water bath and cooling on the counter. Next batch is just starting to cook down. We haven't even started on the apples picked yesterday up the road. All of the apples processed so far came from those Madam picked on the Hewell Farm Saturday at the Turning and Burning. Still have three bushels or there abouts from yesterday's efforts. Looks like a couple of batches of applesauce are in order.

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