Apple season starts as early as September and winds up in October, at least here in Virginia. I dutifully went to the orchard at the first part of September but because of another year of excessive heat and humidity the trees only produced a single Northern Spy. The old man assured me it was delicious and consumed by him as soon as he found it. Darn!
So I decided to buy some of the earlier apples to try. Sadly they are not keeping well. I thought it was just the lousy climate control in my house but the kitten specialists in our rescue group reported the same issue and they have a house which was completely renovated and updated before they bought it recently. It’s at least in part the rotten weather. I tried just eating a couple when I first brought them home. They were not crisp and crunchy the way I like, but rather just a bit mealy, the way supermarket apples often are. Also the taste was very mild although not unpleasant, so before they all go bad I determined to make apple sauce.
Perhaps later in the month I’ll go back and try some later varieties. Foolishly, I didn’t write down the names of those two early apples. I will not repeat that mistake.I wanted to try making apple butter and dried cinnamon apples for my winter oatmeal. I’ll have to see what varieties came out well this year.
Someone donated a small food drier to the thrift store, which I bought. I used to have a great source for dried cinnamon apples and then they went out of business or retired or moved away, I never found out why they disappeared. So I want to try drying some cinnamon apples and some I may do just plain. When I can’t get decent apples in winter, dried apples can cook along with some of farmer Frank’s pork chops or be added to oatmeal. The can also be used to make apple fritters for a nice brunch dish on a cold winter Sunday. Fresh ones are good in fall when the apples are newly harvested but the flavor is very concentrated in the dry ones and you don’t have to worry about too much liquid and soggy fritters.
I decided to go to the orchard later in the month, hoping the recent drop in temperature would mean fresh cider would be ready and the later apples might be less mushy. Fresh cider that slowly ferments and becomes fizzy is one of my favorite drinks. I like professionally brewed and bottled hard cider but there is nothing like the apply taste of fresh cider.