OCTOBER

October 1st WINDFALL
According to my memory the apple tree was on the right on a wooded curve just past a relatively long stretch of vacant farmland. Back roads not often traveled, however, are rarely as one remembers them, and so there was no stretch of farmland and no curve to the right, but there was an apple tree. In fact there were several. The spot where we finally stopped had apple trees on either side of the road. The tree on the right had larger green apples tinged with red, while the one on the left had yellow apples, slightly smaller, but still considerably larger than the tiny sour crab apples found in abundance throughout the region. Both tasted fine, and though the branches were too high for picking them, there were plenty of good ones on the ground and a hefty shake of the lower branches brought down many more. Pete and I each collected a bagful and were on our way.

October 2nd APPLESAUCE
This morning was spent peeling and coring yesterday’s generous find. Wild apples (Malus spp.) or windfalls, as I like to call them, are generally smaller than commercial apples and quite irregularly shaped, often with bruised spots, making the peeling job considerably more difficult. They are nonetheless just as good or perhaps better. This batch was tart and juicy.

Pete had gotten up as usual about an hour before me, and he had a perfect fire burning in the outdoor fire place. So, with coffee steaming in our cups, I filled a four quart enamel pot with about two quarts of the cut up apples. I added a little bit of water, maybe a cup, to keep the apples from burning or sticking until they could break down enough to start making their own water. With a little bit of stirring, poking, and mashing, in about half an hour they were cooked down to a delicious, piping hot, tart and somewhat lumpy applesauce, just the way I like it. (You can add sugar or cinnamon, if you want, but I prefer it just plain.) What we didn’t finish for breakfast, I put in the refrigerator, where it should keep for a week or so. It could be canned of course, but then that’s turning it into a big job. And although I enjoyed being at the fireside, I didn’t really want to be stuck there all afternoon.

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