Well, that’s four trees done. The windfalls are mostly gathered and now fermenting in buckets as a prospective apple wine, or chutneyed, or used in this gorgeous Tuscan slightly soggy apple cake recipethat uses five or six apples a shot – great!
Fruit gathered from the branches is now bagged (four fruit in the bottom of a supermarket bag, then rolled into a sausage), boxed, and even labelled. I always think I will remember which sort is which, always forget, and this time have a label in each bag. Alas, though it would be fun to have the correct variety names, the two ancient apple trees remaining are long unlabelled, and the trees we planted as young’uns when we moved here seventeen years ago, lost their labels in transit from the previous garden. Bad management, ok. So, my printed labels are, as you can see, just ‘striped apple by wonky sundial’, or ‘pale yellow whopper by top pool’. Indeed, I think we blame the fruit of this last one for the refusal of frogs to colonise the pool beneath; the splash of windfalls must be, to the pond’s inhabitants, rather as an earlier splash must have been to the dinosaurs.
Actually, there is one tree whose name we do recall – ‘Court Plat Pendu’, supposedly a Roman variety, but one which in our garden sulks, hardly grows and hardly fruits. Perhaps its pining for Rome. It’s due for the chop.
So, the pantry smells pleasantly of apples. I check the bags every few weeks to see which sort is getting ready for the table. The four harvested so far will only last until Christmas or so, though the three trees with apples still on the branches last in store well into next spring.
Down in the ruin, though, I’ve just noticed that some brown sticks in pots have some juicy buds. One of the old trees (old apple with purple clematis) original to the garden is grafted on the ancient ‘Paradise’ apple stock. Though the basic form of this is several hundred years old at least, there are various strains of it, our one giving a nice shortish tree above the graft, and suckering like mad below. I’ve cut, deep down, some of the suckers off and replanted, aiming at trying to grow some new Paradise plants. Why? Well, I want to try out some grafting, particularly of other ancient trees in the village. One, in a neighbour’s garden is said to taste something between pear and apple, and which I am almost desperate to have. The brown sticks are Paradise, and so potential stocks for the next wave of apple planting. And something to replace Court Plat Pendu!
On the old tree, incidentally now cleared of the clematis species that had almost swamped it, some of the attached suckers fruited, but their fruit, supposedly bland and unexciting, vanished amongst the general windfalls of autumn. Ah well…
The apples shown above are three of the ones so far harvested. Perhaps you know what they might be?
Oh, and the apple wine. I’m not sure whether, not having been much at the cottage lately, the kitchen is too cold to encourage fermentation, or the buckets in which the various tree juices are were not rinsed strongly enough after I sterilised them. I hover over them, listening for the bursting of bubbles. But bubbles are few and soundless. Oh dear.
A previous attempt at making the stuff, several seasons ago, was only a success in that we spent several sloshed evenings flavouring the stuff with various combos of herbs and spices – and indeed came up with some rather tasty vermouths. We should be able to do things better this time – the garden has a bigger range of artemisias to try. Who knows? A whole new industry awaits.