What To Do With An Abundance of Apples?

Stainless Steel Cider Press

Stainless Steel Cider Press

Oh, what to do with an abundance of apples? It has been the year of fruit here in Massachusetts. The trees are weighted down with peaches, pears and apples. There are so many that I’m receiving whole cases as gifts from people who have more than they can eat or preserve. So what to do with this gift from the trees (and from desperate neighbors)?

First of all, if you have your apples in a root cellar or cold storage, you have time to process. It’s not like tomato season!

Options abound. I have already pressed 120 pounds into cider. Next up will be canning. I want to do sauce but I also want to do pie filling. On a cold winter’s day, I can get away with a pot of soup for supper as long as I have a hearty dessert. I do NOT have a family that considers a bowl of soup supper otherwise. If the filling is sitting in a jar the whole thing takes minutes as I keep rounds of pie dough in the freezer waiting for the night I need a great dessert or a pot luck contribution. So let’s make pie filling today.

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“I LOVE My Steam Juicer!”

Great Grapes Storey Books pamphlet

Learn how to grow your own tasty grapes! In stock now at Lehmans.com or at Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio.

As the days speed into winter and fall’s mildness is becoming a memory here in the Upper Midwest, many of us are frantically trying to get everything “put by” for winter. I’ve become quite close to my steam juicer.

We here at Ash Lane Farm have a lovely vine of concord grapes and two heritage apple trees that I try to get into juice every year.

I am allergic to bees so I have to depend on the kindness of my husband, Norm, to take time from his busy life to pick the grapes and the apples.  But once they come inside, they are mine to do as I wish.

We like apple butter, apple sauce and grape jelly, and unsweetened gape and apple juices.  Plus, I make a wonderful apple brandy to give as gifts each year as well as have some for us. We also got elderberries from my sister to make into syrups for colds and coughs. Continue reading

Apples Everywhere: Cider, Slices, Sauce & Juice

Worth the investment! Cider presses are available at Lehmans.com now.

Worth the investment! Cider presses are available at Lehmans.com now.

We live in one of the most apple-rich areas of the country. The back roads are lined with abandoned apple trees and the state forests often have old orchards where apples are free for the picking. Bruce and I put in a small orchard 8 years ago and our own trees have begun to bear fruit too, so it seemed only sensible to add an apple press to our wish list of tools and equipment. But alas, the price seemed beyond us for a sturdy one that included an apple crusher as well as a heavy duty press.

Eventually, we teamed up with three other families and bought a press to share. It has turned out to be a wonderful experience for all concerned. Because we have the sheltering summer kitchen with electricity and running water, the cider press is there year-round, ready to go. Continue reading