Apples are raining down from the trees on the allotment, making the chickens jump and me giggle. It has been a great year for apples, and all this rain has made them extra juicy.
They’re falling faster than I can keep up with – and I think my hens Itchy, Scratchy and Battina are getting fed up of ‘windfall surprise’ for their afternoon snack. So I’m frantically peeling, chopping, slicing and freezing what I can, and attempting to give away the rest.
A conversation with a neighbour who was brought up on a farm prompted an interesting idea. She said she knew of a crafty no-fuss way of juicing, which she said was to pierce the skin of the apples, then freeze them whole. The fruit were then thawed in a colander inside a bowl, weighted down with a plate and a brick. As the freezing destroys the apples’ structure (but, importantly, neither the flavour nor the vitamin content are affected), the fruit collapse, the juice pretty much falls out of them and hey presto!
I’m waiting for them to thaw as I write. If they take too long there will definitely be a case for putting a slice of lemon and a dash of vodka in the juice as the Polish do. Both cooking and eating apples make good juice, although cookers tend to be somewhat more tart. I have a ‘Bramley’ and a ‘Cox’ on my plot, both fairly mature trees planted by my predecessor Dobby (a former prisoner of war from Poland who at one time had four plots on the site, and used to feed a tame fox by hand whilst sat in the shed – quite a legacy to live up to!).
If you haven’t got room for two trees, you can get one tree with several different varieties grafted onto it, such as the Dual Apple – Elstar and Golden Delicious Tree. Not only is this great for saving space, but the varieties will help pollinate each other too, which is handy if there aren’t any other apple trees nearby.
So, here’s the fruit of my labour – I wonder if Dobby would approve? Na zdrowie!