An apple a day…

an-apple-a-day

I love growing apples and have mentioned my inherited apple tree before. I’ve grown some perfect ‘Pink Lady’ apples this year and I love the sweet taste. There’s nothing like your own home grown apples and I’ve never tasted any as good as these from the shops.

apple-elderberry

Apple and Elderberry make a good combination, especially when stewed.

One thing I’ve never been able to do though is use them up very effectively. I find my picked apples go mouldy and my unpicked apples get eaten by pests or by people other than me.

Not pointing any fingers but in the past I’ve been relaxing under my apple tree only to find allotment neighbours sneak up and pinch them without realising I’m there! Now I love sharing and have given tons away, so there’s no need for that is there!

apple-tray

I’ve not had any stolen that I know about lately though and with the trees growing so big over the last few years sharing and thinking of ways to use them up has been top of my list. I’ve taken boxes full of them to friends and family. My apple tray from dotcomgiftshop is the ideal size for transporting them, it’s been really useful.

apples_bruised

A few weeks ago I bought a juicer and I’m over the moon with it. I used the damaged apples first (like the ones above), putting the perfect ones into storage. I can get through around 8 apples at a time for a couple of big drinks, so it’s really been the easiest and best use of my apples ever.

I just chop the apples into quarters, remove any bad bits and pop them straight into the juicer. Simple plain apple juice is amazing and mixed with blueberry and ginger is fantastic.

I’ve found that keeping the apples in the fridge makes a really nice cool juice.

stored_apples

With the absolutely perfect apples I washed them and individually wrapped them in newspaper and popped them into my cellar. I made sure they were totally perfect, not one blemish…but they’ve still gone to mush?!

At the weekend I watched Monty Don on Gardener’s World demonstrate how he saves his perfect apples on slatted shelves in a barn. He said it’s important for them not to touch each other and they can be kept anywhere dark but not too dry. So my technique should have been okay and I’ve read a lot of blogs and websites who recommend wrapping in newspaper – but alas no – it’s just not worked out for me again.

Next year the perfect ones are being eaten first and by me!

apple-trees-end-of-september

My apple tree is looking very bare now. Adam keeps mushing up the really damaged windfalls in a big bucket and he spreads them back on the ground as mulch.

My tree is an early producer so it’s not over yet for everyone, there’s still a lot of blog posts about apples that are ripening now and there’s lots of apple events happening throughout October.

Here’s some of my favourite apple posts for your weekend reading:

Veg Plotting – Take one bag of windfalls

The Garden Smallholder – Pecking Apples and Our Very Own Orchard

Potager Pottering and Crime – Apple Picking Time

Greentapestry – ‘What Katy Did’ And Other Stories

Please feel free to add any other posts to the comments.

pears

So now my only question now is…what to do with the pears!

Do you grow apples and have you ever successfully stored them? If yes HOW do you do it?!

34 Responses to “An apple a day…”

  1. Christina October 11, 2013 at 4:23 pm #

    I don’t think you should wash them before storing, I think they have some kind of protective surface naturally. Allowing air to circulate is important so being wrapped doesn’t allow for that. However here our winters aren’t cold enough for long enough to grow apples so who am I to give advice. You can make a lovely pickle to have with Turkey with the pears. (Delia Smith’s Christmas book or maybe summer). Good with lots of other things too, and of course pear juice is even better than apple! What kind of juicer did you buy?

    • Anna B October 11, 2013 at 9:38 pm #

      Hi Christina! I like your advice! It’s all good! I think I’ve convinced myself that I’m just no good at storing them now though and with the juicer, getting through them has never been easier! I’m upset we’re onto our last few. The juicer is a Magimix Le Duo XL. Thanks so much for the pear ideas! I love the sound of pickle for Christmas Day!!

  2. The Garden Smallholder October 11, 2013 at 6:42 pm #

    Lovely tree and apples, they look delicious! Shame your apples are not storing well, we’re hoping ours store in the cool larder – it’s our first year with a lovely harvest of apples and pears so fingers crossed! Thank you for linking to the blog x

    • Anna B October 11, 2013 at 9:39 pm #

      Good luck with your harvest! I hope they do a lot better than mine :) thanks so much for dropping by!

  3. Janet/Plantaliscious October 11, 2013 at 7:24 pm #

    I’m definitely going to have to read the comments to this post Anna, I have been pondering growing apples here, but am worried about (a) storage and (b) pruning. I have a conference pear tree on order for TNG, and think I will probably opt for plum trees as they are so expensive to buy in the shops and we love them dearly. But I just caught up with Gardener’s World, and am now wondering about trying apples in pots… Oh, the dilemmas! How do you find the pruning side of things?

    • Anna B October 11, 2013 at 9:50 pm #

      Hi Janet! I highly recommend apple and pear trees. The fruit is a million times nicer than anything you buy in the shops! Pruning has been fine, I used to worry sick about it and could never quite work out when to prune or by how much but whatever we do to the trees they still come back. I have a theory that we have one good year followed by a not so good year and so on but nevertheless we always get fruit and its always amazing. We prune back at some point in winter and to the shape we want rather than by a certain amount that’s recommended in books, simply because trees aren’t uniform and to keep it from growing crooked or getting too high or too much to one side we just chop it back to a shape that’s good for the health & proportions of the trees. The apple tree has grown so much in the last 4 years, I’ve had the plot for 9 now and it must have been about 4 years old when I got it, so they’re very robust. As for storage I clearly can’t help with that one but I don’t think you’ll be over run for a good few years and it is possible (just not for me!) I would love a plum tree too, Adam was given some this week and I made plum crumble with custard :) thanks so much for dropping by!

      • Janet/Plantaliscious October 12, 2013 at 8:41 am #

        Thanks Anna, I feel better about the pruning – and after all, my Great Grandfather was still pruing his own apple trees at 96!! The juicer is a great idea too, seems much better than trying to store them and having to keep checking up on them in case they are rotting or being eaten by rodents…

        • Anna B October 12, 2013 at 9:52 am #

          That’s amazing about your grandfather! So apples and gardening really are the secrets to a long healthy life! I’ve been really happy with the juicer. There are lots out there on the market but this one was neat in size and has the coulis/puree maker attachment which I’ll find really useful. It is noisy though and sometimes it jumps off the surface when I switch it on!! So I don’t know if the model I have is the best one out there but it works for me and means I probably wont need to store apples again but from the other comments, no wrapping and no washing seems to be the key to a long healthy life for an apple!!

  4. Cathy October 11, 2013 at 8:16 pm #

    Can’t believe people ‘steal’ them from under your nose! You have certainly been kept busy finding uses for them – I’ll be interested to hear about your pears. They will juice as well, of course.

    • Anna B October 11, 2013 at 9:55 pm #

      Hi Cathy! These apples have quite a reputation at my allotments for taste. People have even said in the past “haven’t you got a good crop this year and don’t they taste gorgeous”, I’m thinking how do they know? I’ve not given them any! Bare faced cheek or what!! I’m not fond of pear juice, this is the problem but maybe I can find a recipe for a mixture, a bit like the blueberry & ginger with apple. I’ll do some googling! Simply baked with honey or brown sugar & served with vanilla ice cream is nice though :) Thanks so much for dropping by!

      • Cathy October 12, 2013 at 8:30 pm #

        Even plain apple and pear juice is nice :)

        • Anna B October 12, 2013 at 10:27 pm #

          I love plain apple juice, it’s totally amazing. I’ll give plain pear a go but I’m not convinced I’ll have grown to like it, the coulis maker might make some nice pear puree though that I could use in cooking and I love baked pears! Thanks so much for dropping by Cathy :-)

  5. Cathy October 11, 2013 at 10:32 pm #

    The apples I was given this year again by neighbours can’t be stored over winter, so I had to use them all up really quickly! I also learned they keep best in the fridge, and I ate the nicest ones first, using the others for cooking. ;-) I made chutney last year, and that kept for a few months. Hope yours last a little longer Anna. I like the idea of a juicer and may invest in one next year too.

    • Anna B October 12, 2013 at 7:40 am #

      Hi Cathy! I love your approach, I’m definitely not leaving the best till last again, I’m getting those eaten first too! I just can’t trust my storage methods and now I have the juicer I get through so many more that actually storing them isn’t really necessary. I also make a lot of ‘cheats stewed apple’ – I just peel, chop and pop it in the microwave! Because the Pink Lady variety are so sweet I don’t even need sugar. I’ll eat that on top of cereal, on top of porridge or on top of yoghurt – just like a Muller fruit corner! I’ve been really happy with the juicer and it also makes puree with soft fruit. A lot of people tried to put me off with stories about cleaning it but it’s really not been a problem. Thanks so much for dropping by :)

  6. Ricki Grady October 12, 2013 at 1:00 am #

    It’s the deer who steal our apples and pears, but they are welcome to them. We keep a few on the porch where it is cool and turn the rest into sauces for the pantry. R. takes big boxes of them to the local ‘Sisters of the Road’ cafe for feeding the homeless. Pruning out the ‘suckers’ is a big spring project, but over the years we have gotten it down to a system.

    • Anna B October 12, 2013 at 7:44 am #

      Hi Ricki! I have a vision of drunken deers running around your garden now! I remember being sent a photo off the internet of a deer or maybe a moose who’d been feasting on apples and was all tangled up drunk in the tree!! Really nice about taking boxes to the homeless, there’s nothing worse than seeing apples go to waste and I’m sure the Sisters of he Road Cafe really appreciate them – great idea :) Glad to hear you’re happy with your pruning methods too. Thanks so much for dropping by!

  7. djdfr October 12, 2013 at 8:05 am #

    Some kinds of apples are keepers and some are not. To keep the ones that are, I have found it best to pick them at a certain point and put them in a cool building that is ventilated. I put them in crates, one layer thick. No washing or wrapping. If you wrap them, it will hasten maturity, hence the mushiness, because apples give off a gas that causes ripening. This can be useful when one wants to ripen things, such as put an apple in a bag with avocados.

    The certain point: this is before you would enjoy eating them. It is when the apple will come easily off the tree in your hand but before it falls. The fallen ones will have a bruised place which will rot.

    Hope this helps.

    • Anna B October 12, 2013 at 8:24 am #

      Brilliant! It would seem that the advice I followed about wrapping the apples is definitely all wrong as it makes a lot of sense that air around the apples is a good idea and that wrapping them will indeed lead to them maturing more quickly because of the gas they give off. Definitely agree about the picking point – when the apple comes off the tree in the hand. Thank you soooo much for your tips and I shall remember your storage advice if I do attempt to store any again next year, sounds like you have proven success with it :) Thanks so much for your comment!

      • djdfr October 12, 2013 at 8:53 am #

        We have kept some until February, March, if we can prevent mice, etc. from eating them.

        • Anna B October 12, 2013 at 9:49 am #

          That’s amazing! I’m so glad I posted about this because I was just telling Adam that I’d had comments telling me not to wash or wrap the ones for storage yet there’s loads of ‘how to websites’ out there that tell you to do just that! Clearly it doesn’t work so you guys commenting and adding tips is really invaluable. Thanks for sharing :)

  8. gardeninacity October 12, 2013 at 8:42 pm #

    Afraid I don’t grow apples but love to eat them. We used to go apple picking when the kids were small. As to pears, you can mix them with apples and make apple-pear sauce. Also bake them in tarts, or poach them in wine.

    • Anna B October 12, 2013 at 10:28 pm #

      Poached! Mmm, sounds good! I am getting hungry reading all these ideas!! Thanks for your comment Jason :)

  9. Anna October 12, 2013 at 8:43 pm #

    Oh it sounds like you had a bountiful crop Anna so what a shame that they turned to mush. Not good news here either – pesky squirrels methinks ram raided the garage and have made off with nearly all my crop :( To add insult to injury they nibbled a sizeable chunk of my dotcomgiftshop tray too. Hope that we both fare better next year.

    • Anna B October 12, 2013 at 10:31 pm #

      Noooo! How dare they!!! Honestly sharing is one thing but thieving and nibbling the tray is seriously out of order!! The trials and tribulations of being a crop grower! Sorry to hear that but thanks so much for dropping by :)

  10. VP October 13, 2013 at 4:36 pm #

    Thanks for the link love Anna :)

    I’ll be posting about pruning apples for Apple Day on the 21st – got some really interesting tips when we went to Waterperry Garden last month.

    As for the pears, we’re poaching them and having custard with ours. They’re good that way even when they’re not ripe.

    • Anna B October 13, 2013 at 7:15 pm #

      Hi VP! Poached pears and custard sound amazing, in fact it sounds perfect for a Sunday evening & I’m going to make some right now! Cool about the pruning tips, I’m sure a lot of people will be interested. Thanks so much for dropping by :)

  11. The Gardening Shoe October 14, 2013 at 8:19 am #

    We have a cider-maker in our village, so he takes in everyone’s old apples in exchange for some vintage cider. If I were fortunate enough to have a hefty pear harvest, they would be bathing in red wine. As it is, our young trees have produced just 3 pears this year. Enjoy your bountiful harvest!

    • Anna B October 14, 2013 at 12:53 pm #

      Your village cider exchange sounds brilliant!!! I am really enjoying pears and custard, nice and simple :-) thanks so much for dropping by!

  12. home, garden, life October 15, 2013 at 1:07 pm #

    Ginger pear preserves are memorable. I make some every year. See if you can find a simple recipe where you live or check out the Blue Chair Jam Cookbook. This woman is amazing and changed the way I preserve fruit.

    • Anna B October 16, 2013 at 4:26 pm #

      Cool! Sounds really good! I shall check out the book :) Thanks so much for your tip!

  13. Adem October 16, 2013 at 7:37 pm #

    Hey. I’ve just started my own blog and was pointed this way by a friend of yours Ryan. I’ve planted young plum, pear, and cherry trees in the garden this summer and I’ve got a bare root apple tree arriving soon which I won!

    It’s going to be a little while before I’m getting fruit from them but you’ve got to start somewhere.

    Love the blog by the way. – Adem

    • Anna B October 17, 2013 at 6:18 pm #

      Hi Adem! You sure have got to start somewhere and your trees will be producing nice fruit soon. Cool about starting your own blog – welcome to the world of online gardening blogs!! Thanks so much for dropping by :)

  14. Caro October 17, 2013 at 6:00 pm #

    Love your photo of the apple and elderberries, Anna! Glad I read down through the comments as I was going to say (as did djdfr) that your variety may not be a ‘keeper’. I should have had around 60 apples from my two little trees this year but one of the trees was mysteriously stripped bare overnight (just before the apples were really ready) and the other tree has been systematically plundered – even the builders admitted helping themselves, cheeky sods! I managed to pick around half a dozen apples and have thoroughly enjoyed those (they’re Braeburns) – you’re right, they are SO much nicer than anything bought from the shops. I’ve just got rid of my juicer as it hadn’t been used for a couple of years. I never thought about juicing my apples. What a plonker!
    PS. There’s always Tarte Tatin as well – upside down apple cake! yum! but speedy apple puree is also great! (Cream, sultanas, cinnamon)

    • Anna B October 17, 2013 at 6:21 pm #

      Hello Caro! It possibly isn’t a keeper and thanks to the juicer, getting through all the apples has become a lot easier so I might not attempt to keep them again. There’s some cheeks sods out there indeed isn’t there. I’m glad you’ve managed to pick a few and soon your tree will be producing loads and then you can get in there before them!!! That’s what we used to have to do. Your recipe ideas sound great – speedy apple puree sounds awesome! Hope you’re well and thanks so much for dropping by :)

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