Tuesday, 21 October 2008

21st October - Apple Day

Apple Day was started some years ago by the hugely impressive Common Ground


I have enormous respect for this organisation and the work it does to impress how wonderful the local is. I have their "England in Particular" book, which is a wonderful read, throughly recommended. I'm hoping to get hold of their "Apple Source" book too. The work they do on promoting the local, regional and national identity of all sorts of things is vitally important to everyone's future - have a look at their website and be inspired!

Common Ground's rules for local distinctiveness:

Back to the apples then....... We'll be having an apple pudding tonight in honour of Apple Day, and I've given my daily stir to the bucket of cottage cider that is brewing away quietly in a corner by the Rayburn. There were few trees at our house when we moved here - two small conifers by the front door (gone within a week), three lilacs, two white and one purple; one of the whites is a double one, and a huge conifer up in what is now the chicken run, which soon went too, made into logs for the fire. I listed all the trees I had planted here since we came, and it came to over 50, but has gone up even more now. Several of those are apple trees. I'm afraid I tend to choose my apple trees for their names - wonderful , old, evocative names, but I try and keep them to their pollinating groups too for successful fruiting, and as local as possible. So far I have the following: Sussex Duck's bill (aka Winter Queening) - a late fruiting eating/cooking apple, nice crisp clean taste; Devonshire Quarrenden - lovely pinky red apple, best from the tree, doesn't keep, pink flushed under the skin, small fruits, early, beinneial bearer (might be able to address this with pruning, I read somewhere, but need to do more research); Yarlington Mill - very local old cider apple; Sops in Wine - another cider apple; Slack ma Girdle - bought for the name, another old cider apple. I reckon I can fit another couple in; I'd like a cooking apple - I tried some Lane's Prince Albert from a roadside table in a nearby village - that's a nice one; and I'd like Tom Putt - very local, reputed to have been bred in a village some 8 miles distant, it's a cooking/cider appple.
I get given a lot of apples by folks who don't need them; some I go and collect myself from their trees too, or find in car parks, out in the lanes on wild trees, or escaped cultivars, by peoples' driveways with "help yourslef" in felt pen on an old bit of cardboard box....... it's a rare thing for me to ahve to pay for apples this time of year, which is lovely. I bring them home, sort them and wash them if needed. Best are kept for eating, windfalls go for cider/wine, the big/cooking apples are bottled or pureed and frozen, some amde into pies for the freezer, frozen uncooked to go straight into the oven.
I am making a proper wooden apple rack for next year, so I will be able to store some properly;I need to research the instructions for this, but will be an interesting project, and I'll stencil the names on the sides too, to add a bit of interest.
So - revel in your apples today, make the most of your native apples, demand them in the shops, buy them when you see them, use them, plant them, talk about them - they're the best apples in the world.
To end, here's my recipe for Doset Apple cake - serve with a girt dollop of double cream!LOL

8oz self-raising flour
4oz butter
4oz sugar
About 1 /2 lb or so of apples, peeled cored and diced
1 large egg, beaten

Prepare a cake tin by greasing and flouring _ I use a round sandwich tin. Rub butter into flour, add sugar and chopped apple, mix well. Mix to a stiff dropping consistency with the beaten egg, add a little milk if needs be, but not too soft a dough. Turn into tin, bake until risen and golden brown - about 30 - 40 minutes in a hot oven. cool on a wire rack. Freezes well.

Enjoy your apples! :)


Bovey Belle said...

I love the names of your apples, especially the old cider apples! I have always hankered after Pitmaston Pineapple, but we live in an area so wet that trees are prone to canker, so that's on hold until we relocate somewhere hopefully a bit drier!

I eat a lot of apples and right now, am cooking with a lot of apples as we have 7 big trees here.

MrsL said...

I thought there was one I missed - inspired by BB, it's a Welsh one! LOL

I managed to get hold of a Bardsey apple last year, only found originally on the island of Bardsey off Anglesey. Looking forward to trying a real piece of apple history when it fruits in a few years time. Thanks for the nudge again, BB :)

Can't have too many apples.......

Jitterbug said...

What lovely sounding names. I have an unknown variety growing on the lottie when I took it over - it is a lovely eating apple but I so love Bramleys' which are totally new to me since moving to the UK. I have managed to get a 1 year old and planted it at my lottie last year so will have to wait a year or two until it fruits. Until then I raid my neighbours Bramley for all my apple pie requirements.
Any chance of you putting up the recipe for bottling apples as my deepfreeze is near bursting with all the tomatoe products I have frozen this year and I have lots of lovely bottles just waiting to be filled.
Thanks for your lovely and always interesting site. I still want to post my pictures of the gloves I knitted with a lovely hat I have knitted for years. Watch my blog!