Old Apples

9 Aug 2007

What do you do with soft and floury and rather old supermarket apples?

Peel them, chop them and stew them with a spoon or two of brown sugar and two or three cloves ready to make a yummy dessert like apple crumble or apple pie or apple cake or stewed apples and custard. Or keep them for breakfast and have them with muesli or granola, or with yoghurt.
We grow our own apples but they are finished now and the only trustworthy supermarket apple according to Bob Magnus is the Fuji. The standard of the rest is patchy. And have you noticed how tough the skin of the average supermarket apple is? I guess they have to be to stand up to the rough handling.

We always leave a few apples on the trees till the end of winter for the birds to feed on. They slowly eat them away, big birds and small . This past week we have had made birdy visitors eating their way through the last apples and now there is only one left.

Tasmania used to be called the Apple Isle because of the vast harvest of apples we exported to the UK. When I was in primary school during the late sixties it was big business but ten years later and orchards were being plowed into the ground as Britain began importing apples from Europe and our orchardists were left without an export market.

Things have gradually recovered with new markets in Asia, but the types of apples preferred has changed. Sweetness without any hint of tartness seems to be the main requirement and consequently the varieties available have drastically reduced.

The seasonality of apples has also fallen victim to the supermarket and export demands and Red Delicious seem to be available all year round. We no longer work our way through the late summer apples, early autumn apples and so on.
Of course the home grower can still do this and there seem to be a growing number of smaller orchards and suppliers of heritage fruit trees such as Bob Magnus coming on the scene. Aren't these apple box posters great? I know the families of the first and last poster, went to school with them. When I was in primary school and we visited an apple orchard we were all given some posters to keep and now they are considered great folk art and a wonderful book has been published showcasing them.

6 Responses to “Old Apples”

  1. Hi Jenny,
    My grandfather was an apple grader (id guess thats what ud call him)....one of my kitchen walls holds the framed posters of where he worked.....i love them!!! brings back memories of visiting him at work and walking away eating the tastiest apple!!! and now i grow my own and like u what the dog doesnt get the birds enjoy!!!

  2. What a lovely post and lovely pics! They bring back nice memories for me of the wonderful apple orchards of where O grew up.
    This also reminded me that I have not baked an apple dessert of any kind for such a long time!

  3. A nice apple crisp with cream sound so good right now. I can almost smell it!

  4. We eat them up in the form of fried apples. Yum! My grandaddy had a wonderful apple orchard that someday I'd love to be able to recreate.

  5. My favourite apple is still the Granny Smith. If I'm running late for work I often take a Granny Smtih and some cashews instead of packing lunch.

    It's nice to see the old posters with the bushel measurements on them. And it's good to know the old fashioned apple desserts are still being eaten.

  6. Apple deserts are very popular here too. We have 3 apple trees, unfortunately this year the calves snuck into the orchard and got the best of the apples, the parrots had most of what the calves didn't get. oh well I'm sure they enjoyed them given how dry the grass was. Next year will be our turn.

    cheers Lenny


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