Â Last year, local fruit was a specialty item.Â A hard frost killed nearly all the spring blossoms.Â The only place I could find apples was at a commercial orchard.Â They estimated that 90 percent of their crop had been killed by the frost.
In an effort to make up for the low production last year, apples and other fruit trees put a surge of energy into propagating this year.Â I was warned of of over production this spring by a Kansas City “growers” email network.Â Thin your trees to avoid stress from the weight of too much fruit, the email said.Â Also, thin them to avoid a loss of flavor and size of fruit as the tree spreads its resources to all the fruit. Finally, thin to avoid a heavy year–light year bearing cycle.
We decided not to thin any of the dozen apricots from our own trees (most were still too young to bear any fruit).
Since ours are not bearing yet, a neighbor let us come pick some apples from his tree today. He’d never seen it so loaded.Â I have never seen an apple tree so heavy with fruit either.Â Apparently, others had already been over to pick some apples, but I could hardly tell.Â The yellow gems dripped from the branches like oversized dew droplets, ready to roll into each other and fall to the ground.
Although the apples were so abundant that nearly every branch required extra support, they were not lacking in flavor or size.Â We’ll eat as many as we can fresh, I’ll can some into applesauce, dry others and finally try my hand at Apple Cider Vinegar.
I was always intimidated by vinegar.Â I wanted to make it, but the directions for it in Carla Emery’s Encyclopedia of Country Living (my favorite resource book for back to the land food skills) seemed so complicated.Â Â No one else was making it that I knew of.
Then, Jess came along, threw waste plums parts (bruises, pits, cracks, rotting pieces…) that I would have composted, into a jar.Â We covered it with a cloth to keep out fruit flies and other critters.Â It separated into liquid and plum “solids”.Â Â Maybe a week later, we strained off the solids and were left with …. VINEGAR!
Could it really be that easy?Â And made from otherwise useless materials?Â Why is no one else doing this??Â I next tried peach– same wonderful outcome– using just as unpleasant starting materials.
So, now for apples.Â Both the plums and peaches were excessively juicy and created their own liquid without any help from me.Â Apples on the other hand are considerably drier.Â I don’t have a press to make cider and I’m not going to put all those apples through a juicer.Â Maybe a little whirl in the blender will do the trick.Â At any rate, I have plenty to experiment with.
And, we’ll be eating lots of apples.Â A good thing too.Â With all this soldering for the solar cells, I’m sure I’m absorbing something unpleasant.Â Turns out pectin is good for removing heavy metals (and other unwanted materials) from the body.Â And apples are high in pectin.Â I guess an apple a day really does keep the doctor away.Â Attaching a terminal strip to the back of a solar panel.