Tuesday, August 11, 2015

My Apple Pie Tree

People laugh when I mention my apple pie tree.

Pies don't grow on trees, I'm told, but every year, this tree throws apples at me until I'm compelled to get busy creating pies and apple sauce for the coming winter.

Every morning I go out and pick up the windfalls. It used to be, if I didn't get out there quickly enough, the wasps, slugs, and ants would destroy them.  One year the crows got in on the action. They would peck at the apples in the tree, until they fell. Then instead of going down and working on their  harvest, they would just move over to another good apple and start pecking holes in that too.

This year, sadly, I have seen no wasps near the apples at all.  And no slugs either.  There have been a few ants, but not as many as I'd expect. Thankfully the crows have moved to another neighbourhood.  I think the squirrels have taken over the job of knocking the apples out of the tree.  I see scraping marks on the skin of many apples, like the skin was too slippery for their teeth to sink into.  Other apples are just chewed on one side, and sometimes even carried towards the trees that line the property.

My tree has not been sprayed in many years, so the apples are not the best. From each basket of usable apples

I get a big pile of peelings

and one pot of apples

that becomes one fabulous crustless apple pie.

While gathering that one basket of apples, I also pick up the rest of the unusable windfalls, which go to the local landfill compost site.

I have offered them to hunters for the deer, but it's too early yet.  Perhaps someone with horses would like them.

I have just baked the first pie of the season. Now I will begin my yearly ritual. I will be busy for an hour each day peeling and chopping another basket full. I will make pies to stack up in one corner of the freezer.

The apples are cooked in the pot until they are tender, but still holding their shape. If I leave them on the stove too long, then I have applesauce. That's fine too. 

One of the reasons I make crustless pies is that they take up so much less room in the freezer.  I just line the pie plate with plastic wrap, pour in the cooled filling, and secure the plastic over the top before popping it into the freezer.  Once frozen, the pies are removed from the pie plates and wrapped in foil. This allows me to keep them until the next crop arrives, if necessary.....which is a good thing since I seem to have a few leftover at this point.  I just put a crumble topping on and bake from the frozen state and they taste just like the fresh ones.

I could have, and probably should have been processing more apples instead of telling you about it.  I now have three baskets ahead of me, and still have not picked up the apples that dropped overnight. Most of the year this is just an apple tree. Right now, it's my apple pie tree, even if it does need some help from me.

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