Thursday, 1 October 2009

The Not-So-Domestic Way to Deal with Apples

Take one mystery, dwarf apple tree laden with apples:



  • Have a cook-off competition with the Fella to see who can make the best apple pie. Notice that this opens a debate on the best kind of pie crust. Discover that you have opposing views. In his view, it should be riddled with lard. In your view, it should not. Neither of you win the competition as your respective pie crusts are virtually inedible. (But at least yours does not have lard in it.)

  • Ask around for tried and tested pie crust recipes and find out that people either use frozen pastry from the supermarket or follow the recipe on the back of their trusty packet of branded lard. Realise that the easiest way to close the debate and keep lard out of your diet, is to avoid the production of any more apple pies

  • As apple pie appears to be off the menu and half of your kitchen is sitting in your back yard due to the kitchen reno - try to give the apples away. Note very happily that about 5 big carrier bags of apples leave in this way. Review the situation and realise that the removal of these apples does not appear to have put much of a dent in the abundance of fruit still hanging from the tree. Permit yourself a sigh

  • Try to ignore the tree


  • When this fails, make 5 family sized cinnamon apple crumbles (apple crisps). Eat one, freeze one and give the rest away to family and friends

  • Notice that the apples have started to drop and are killing the grass as they rot away. Feel a twinge of guilt at the waste. Find yourself racing outside each morning to rescue the windfalls from the slugs

  • Start to pile the apples on the front doorstep as you have no more room inside the house. Try to analyse why you are doing this and give up - it is irrational as you have no time or room to process the fruit during the kitchen reno


  • Observe to yourself that the pile of windfalls outside your front door looks quite 'harvesty' and hope that people will knock on your door to ask if they might take some away to make pie. Funnily enough, no one knocks

  • Compulsively, you continue to collect and stockpile the apples each morning. At least this is saving the grass under the tree. However, the pile of apples outside your door starts to get out of hand. If you were going to be honest with yourself, you would need to admit that it looks very much like a trip hazard and a serious apple disposal problem

  • Continue piling the apples and notice that you have started to grade them as follows:

    • Top step: Apple Pie/Crumble Filling;
    • Middle Step: Apple Chutney;
    • Bottom Step: Apple Sauce; and
    • Ground: Ones you would rather not use, like these:


  • Bizarrely enough, succumb to the mental pressure of the apples piled on your doorstep. When the Fella vanishes into his workshop to saw bits off some vital part of the kitchen, rush outside and bring in armfuls of apples. Peel a sink full of apples and make 6 lemon apple crumbles as you listen to the sound of enthusiastic sawing and drilling coming from the bottom of the garden. Freeze 3 down and give 3 away. Peel another sink full of apples and make a batch of cinnamon apple sauce for pancakes. Freeze it down too. Wonder, with a certain amount of concern, if you have started to turn into a Stepford Wife

  • Lost in your obsession, peel another sink load of apples when the Fella goes out to work the next day. Dig out a large pot and make chutney from this very easy to follow Apple Chutney recipe that you find on the internet

  • During this process, pop outside and review apples left on doorstep. In fact, take pictures of them from different angles and feel slightly weird about your apple mania




  • Phone your mum 8 time zones away to check how she sterilises jars and makes her chutney jars airtight. Realise that you do not have any greaseproof or parchment paper - so proceed without it, hoping for the best

  • Feel ridiculously proud of your efforts and take photos because the stuff inside your 12 x 250ml jars, actually does look like chutney!



  • Don't stop there though. While you are on a roll, peel a few more apples and use this Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake recipe to make two apple pan cakes which turn out to be delicious either hot or cold. (One eaten, the other given away.)


  • At this point, the Fella gets home. Recluctantly, allow him to prise the apple peeler out of your hand, lead you out of the kitchen and hand you a glass of wine. Express worry about the apples still sitting on the front doorstep. Allow him to tell you that it does not matter, that you have done enough and let him reassure you that he will have the tree professionally pruned this year, so it will not fruit next year. Spend the evening pretending that the apples left on the doorstep are not drilling a hole in your brain

  • The next day, when no one is looking, swoop every apple that you can find into the garden waste bin. Feel the apple burden lift and heave an enormous sigh of relief!


The End.


Kelli said...

For the next time you get an inkling to make a pie crust, try Ina Garten's. It's my favorite.

Suemoon said...

No cider????

Team Knit ! said...

wow, that's a lot of apples!! I wish I had that problem!! the chutney looks amazing. if I lived nearby, I would definitely ask for some apples.

- Julie

Anonymous said...

For future seasons, would the Food Bank accept them? I know they generally prefer non-perishable donations but I'd be surprised if they couldn't find people who wanted them in a short period of time.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the wonderful story of your apple steps. A good laugh adds the right kind of lines to my face. I am writing a blog to advise my clients about apple root stocks, size of tree and that they will get plenty of apples on their small trees in their small yards.

Carol, a garden designer in Portland, Oregon