Early Apple Wine

ImageOur apple tree is packed with apples this year- a nice reward for having none last year.  About 2 weeks ago, they started turning red and falling- I don’t remember them being this early 2 years ago.  Despite being super busy with baby, house renovations and just everyday living, we knew we couldn’t let them go to waste.  I’ve been admiring Kevin’s apple crush for quite a while now, so we attempted our own.  With baby strapped on, the three of us set up our assembly line of wash, cut, juice, squeeze resulting pulp for juice and collect juice in a primary fermenter.  It took almost 6 hours!  Although, baby bird did have a freak out about mid way, so dad had to finish the rest on his own.

ImageNext year, (or next time; as our neighbors have now donated many of their apples to the cause) we will find a more efficient way to juice and press the apples.  We just have a small household juicer and a big cheesecloth.  When it was all over, we ended up with about 3 gallons of juice and the fellah at the wine store sold us some appropriate yeast.  So, in it went, and now we wait..

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Apple Time

Slowly but surely, it is turning into apple season here in Southern Alberta.  That is… if your tree(s) grew any apples this year.   Many trees, including my own, did not blossom this year (well, wait there were three blossoms and three apples- which the birds got first dibs on).  Was it the cool spring, the lack of blossoms, the lack of bees?  A bit scary, if you ask me, at how easily our food supply can be interrupted or put on hold due to these conditions.  I also know that there were very little to no saskatoons this year too.  I asked around and even in the Fort MacLeod area, which is usually abundant and there were none.

apple-less tree

But bee genocide (seriously) and global warming aside, some people were lucky enough to get apples this year (keep reading if you were not one of these people for an idea on how you can get some of your own for free.) And since everything seems to be late, now is the time for apple abundance.  Now that we are almost done with tomatoes (this past weekend, I canned about 20 jars of them), it’s time for apples!

I got a box from an older couple who’s apple tree faithfully produced this year- but they told me to use ’em up fast, because they start rotting from the inside out!  So, I peeled and cored them and made a nice thick applesauce.  I added a bit of honey but no sugar- and consequently, it’s still too sour to eat on it’s own, and I’m too stubborn to add more sugar.  So, I opened up the index of ye ‘ol Joy of Cooking and of course, there is a recipe for applesauce cake.  Here is the recipe.  It’s a lovely autumn-tasting cake- very dense, moist and spicy- but I would add less sugar next time. And it’s great with some ice cream!  Afterwards, I packaged up the rest of the applesauce and threw it in the freezer for future winter versions of this cake.

My next batch of apples is coming soon from the Okanagan via a food co-op i belong to, and I’m also thinking of scavenging some crab apples from trees around town. I see the Hutterites do it all the time. There is certainly not a shortage of crab apples from what I’ve seen, and I’m sure people would appreciate them going to use instead of falling and rotting.  You may even be able to get your hands on some non-crab apples (check kijiji for ads or put one of your own up.)   Let’s get the fruit rescue movement going in Lethbridge, too!

So once I have the second batch of apples in possession, I think I’ll make apple juice. Liesl and Myles from this localish blog, Nest (cute eh?) have a post on Mother Earth News this week on How to make Home Made Apple Juice.  And… my favorite part- they encourage you to include the peels and seeds- which eventually get strained out but are full of nutrition and flavor.  And they even explain how to can it- cause really, one can only drink so much apple juice at a time!  I was also thinking it would be good hot as the weather cools off.

What are you busy harvesting and preserving?  Feeling burnt out yet?!  And how ’bout this nice weather we’ve been having; our whole garden is still alive and kicking with some cold frames in place for future cool days & nights.  More on that soon.