There are four apple trees in our garden. The three of them have really marvelous apples, smelling great, delicious and just looking gorgeous.
The fourth tree is probably an older tree (the sort is called ‘Ananas’) than the others and got small fruits that don’t distinguish with their good taste. We think the quality of the apples might get better if we stream the tree. Removing some of the branches and making the tree more compact will help the tree to concentrate its efforts on producing fewer and hopefully bigger and tastier apples instead of many small and bitterish ones. We’ll see.
If you ask my neighbor this was a rather bad apple year because of the really ugly weather, but we can’t complain, we had enough apples to consume. We enjoyed eating them raw, made apple crumbles, froze them down raw to use later, made ‘compote’ out of them, gave away, juiced them with the other neighbors juicer, made apple sauce and stored some of it in a basket.
Since we didn’t have wooden boxes at our disposal, I decided to store the apples in a basket thinking that apples had a good chance ‘to breathe’ through the small porous holes that woven baskets have. I put newspapers in between the layers of the fruit, so they don’t immediately touch each other and quickly rote, and placed them in our dark storage room, which I am very sure, the previous owners made to keep their preserves in. It has been one and a half month they have been stored and they are not doing that well. They obtained deeper colors, although didn’t miss all their flavor but are not as good as when fresh, and they don’t look nice. The sort of the apples is called Fillipa, a Danish apple, pretty common in Danish gardens. And my conclusion is that those are not the best apples to be stored over winter. It might also be that I should store them in an apple box and in a cooler place?
When I think of storing apples, my mind goes back to Armenia, to apples from my childhood. We used to store two sorts, ‘banana’ and ‘besflor’. My grandpa planted them during, I guess, in 70’s, obtaining the trees from his late cousin who was a gardener and an apple enthusiast. These apples did really great throughout the winter, remaining delicious and crispy. Oh man, how I loved them. And our storage room was quite cold. So maybe if I find a cooler place in Puk to store ower Puk apples, they will do better? We will see, next year.
Well, if I can’t say that my attempts to store fresh apples turned into a very successful practice, I am rather satisfied with freezing down the raw and processed apples (crumble, sauce).
Next year I will try to dry some of the apple harvest, if I get a dehydrator. I am hooked with this idea since my baking and gardening guru friend Camilla has introduced me with her dehydrator.
Another awesome machine I would love to have, is a juicer. Just imagine all the fallen apples (except the ones we keep for the birds) can be turned into fresh juice that on its turn can be frozen down and … now the most exciting part … we can make our own apple cider. So, now you know what I am wishing for my Christmas 😉
And a couple of recipes with apples, that I should try next year as well 🙂
Nutty apple crumble
For a round 26 cm diameter oven proof dish
- 6-8 apples
- half a cup sugar
- half a cup flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 50 g butter
- 200 g chopped walnuts
- pinch of cinnamon
Prepare the apples, remove the kernels and seeds, peel them and cut into slices. You can do this step ahead and freeze the apples. Put the apples in an oven proof dish, sprinkle with cinnamon and using hands gently mix. Top the apples with walnuts. Mix sugar and flour, then add vanilla. Add the butter at room temperature and using hands incorporate butter into the flour mix until crumbs form. Top the apples and walnuts with the crumble mix and bake for 30 minutes in 180C preheated oven.
Serve the crumble with vanilla ice-cream or crème-freche.
Apple sauce (æblegrød in Danish)
The idea of making apple sauce comes from my neighbor. I am so thankful to her, it is just the best dessert involving apples ever.
I filled up my 2 liter saucepan with prepared and chopped apples, 0,5 liters of water and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. After water started boiling I cooked the mix for 7 minutes on medium heat, then added 1 cup sugar and cooked for 5 minutes more. When the sauce cooled down a bit, I blended it with a hand blender.
We ate the warm sauce as dessert with vanilla ice-cream. I froze the rest of the sauce down to use in desserts or serve as a weekend breakfast treat with some Greek yogurt.
My childhood apple juice (compote)
We call this thing one can drink ‘compote’ (կոմպոտ) in Armenia. It is a Russian word (компот) we borrowed in our language, some claim the term is French, I don’t know. There is also this ‘kompote’ in Danish. But what is ‘compote’ in Danish is not the same as in Armenian and Russian. And I don’t really know what the English word is for this kind of juice. ‘Compote’ I know is very simple: it is any fruits, berries and their combinations cooked with water, sugar and different spices and herbs. The amount of sugar depends on the sweetness of the berries and fruits.
In my 2 liter saucepan filled with prepared and chopped apples I added 1,5 liters water and one cup sugar. With different occasions I tried to flavor the juice with spices like cinnamon, anise; herb like lavender from our garden; vanilla extract; and home grown chili which I air-dried. Then cooked until the fruits are tender, 7 min. or so.