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.
This morning was spent peeling and coring yesterdays 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 didnt
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 thats turning
it into a big job. And although I enjoyed being at the fireside, I didnt
really want to be stuck there all afternoon.
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