13 October 2007

Buried under apples

Anybody feeling sad or sorry about our not getting many tomatoes out of our vegetable garden this past "summer" should re-focus those feelings on our over-abundance of apples. Around Saint-Aignan, from July through October, we are buried under piles of them. There are apple trees all around. We have five. Our neighbors across the street have at least that many. The other neighbors out back have a small orchard with half a dozen or more apple trees in it. We all pick some, but mostly the apples just fall to the ground and rot away.

Apples under the tree, mostly hidden in
the grass, as well as on the gravel path

In our yard, the biggest apple tree produces a ton of apples one year, and then far fewer the next year. This was a banner year, and all the more so because the weather was cool and rainy. The apples had a chance to get big and fat, and you could just sit out back and listen to them fall to the ground with a loud thud all day long. Well, you could sit out back when it wasn't raining, which was just once in a while.

Callie offering, I thought, to help me pick
up the apples that had fallen on the path

I've said it before: Walt made quarts of applesauce last year, and I made quarts of apple jelly. We are still working on consuming all that. Walt has "requested" that I not make any more jelly, jam, or preserves. After the 10 kilos of peaches we turned into preserves in 2005, the 10 or more kilos of apples I made into jelly in 2006, and the 20 kilos or so of plums I made into jam in 2006 and 2007, our pantry runneth over. Oh, did I forget the six quarts of quince jelly I made in 2004?

Callie got bored pretty fast, so I had to do the work by myself.

I think I've discovered a good way to work on the stock of applesauce. It will be good to eat with the boudin noir antillais that Madame Doudouille sells at the Saint-Aignan market on Saturday mornings. Boudin noir is black pudding, or blood sausage, and Walt thought he didn't like it until he tried the antillais, or Caribbean, version. It's hot and spicy. And applesauce will be the ideal side dish to serve with it.

Callie shows up at the end and says: "What did you do with
all my apples?" She has been eating at least one apple a day.

And there are always applesauce cakes. Those are good too, especially during the winter when fresh fruit isn't that good.

I hope we have a good year for cherries and plums again next year, but not if it means having weeks rainy weather. We are due for a dry, hot summer. But first we have to get through the winter. Nobody knows whether this winter will be cold and snowy, like 2005-06, or mild and damp, like 2006-07. I'm kind of hoping for cold and snowy, because that might bring us a dry, hot summer in 2008. Cross your fingers.

These are the apples we picked up and dumped in a community
compost pile outside our back gate. The others we picked up are in
a second, private compost pile behind our garden shed.

I said yesterday that we had recently picked up between 15 and 20 wheelbarrow-loads of apples for composting. Well, I picked up and hauled away another five wheelbarrow-loads today. Those were just the ones that had fallen on the rocky allée that runs down the middle of the back yard. Not only do we have more apples than we can possible eat, but we have more than our own compost pile can accommodate.

A clean path, with just the garden hoses to
be brought in before the first freeze

Before yesterday, we had already picked all the apples that were hidden in the too-tall grass growing right under the apple trees. So Walt was finally able to mow the grass today. Any other apples that fall from here on out will just rot on the ground over the winter.


  1. What a beautiful place you have. Pity about the apples, my parents used to live on a farm and grew lots and always palmed them off on the kids but honestly home much can one consume?? I too preserved etc. but now they are no longer around I must buy the terrible stuff they sell in stores and my children complain that it is not as good as what their grandparents produced, so true. Enjoy it all you can. Vida x

  2. Callie must have heard that an apple a day will keep the doctor away;-)

    I guess you don't sit under your apple tree much- and I complain about the noise the falling acorns make here. We have a big crop of acorns this year. Perhaps it's due to our drought. I'm hoping the two of us will have a normal summer next year. We deserve it.

  3. What a coincidence. I went birding today and I made my lunch for today last night. What was it, you wonder?
    Peanutbutter and jelly -- with the last of your 2005 peach jelly. Do you want your jar back?


What's on your mind? Qu'avez-vous à me dire ?