Author Topic: Apples  (Read 3693 times)

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Apples
« on: October 30, 2011, 09:47:48 pm »
We have five apple trees in our garden, all of which were already well established when we moved here six years ago. I've never really paid much attention to them, tbh. Never really been sure what to do with them, how to look after them (both in terms of pruning and pest control) and get the best out of them, and not really had the time or inclination to deal with all the fruit. My wife has made a bit more effort than me to use the fruit but we've never really benefitted fully from having them.

However, this year, we've had a bumper harvest and the fruit is looking good. It would be a crime not to make the most of them, so I've started taking a proper interest…

Two of the trees are early varieties, both cookers. They've been badly pruned at some point so don't produce as much fruit as they might. Having browsed the database at orangepippin.com, I've come to the conclusion that one is probably Bountiful and the other is probably Golden Noble.

Some of the fruit from these two trees is now in storage, some of it has been processed into applesauce.

The other three trees are late varieties - two eaters, one cooker. They're all heavily laden with fruit at the moment. This weekend, I've picked 85kg of apples from two of the trees and barely made a dent in the crop. We could well end up with over 250kg of apples between the three of them.

One of them is (I'm fairly certain) a Cox's Orange Pippin and the fruit is particularly good this year, with exceptional depth and complexity of flavour. Tbh, I'd forgotten it was possible for apples to taste as good as this. Those things you buy in the supermarket labelled as Cox's? A very poor imitation. I've been plucking them off the tree to eat as I walk past. Wonderful. Just wonderful.

The other eating variety isn't quite as good but is still vastly superior to most shop-bought fruit. Crisp, with a sweet-sharp flavour. My best guess is that it's a Falstaff.

I think I've identified the third cooking variety as Annie Elizabeth. It's very good - similar sized fruit to Bramley but much sweeter flavour. We'll probably get over 100kg of fruit off this tree alone (and we've already lost a fair bit of fruit to windfalls/pests - I try to retrieve as much of these as possible but don't really have the time or inclination).

We'll be making lots of chutneys and suchlike over the next few weeks.

And I'm thinking of investing in a cider press for next year.

d.

nicknack

  • Hornblower
Re: Apples
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2011, 11:45:35 pm »
You haven't thought of checking them with Brogdale have you?
There's no vibrations, but wait.

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Re: Apples
« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2011, 12:40:50 am »
We looked into it a while ago but it's very expensive. We would probably get it done if it really mattered but it wouldn't really tell us anything useful that we don't know already.

When we had an allotment, we planted some trees that we bought from Brogdale and spent ages selecting good varieties that would grow well together (ie for cross-pollination). But we had to give up the allotment before the trees had really become established, so it ended up being a bit of a waste of time and money. I don't know if the person who inherited our plot kept the trees. I hope so.

I'm tempted to try one of Brogdale's courses on tree care though. That could be worthwhile. I know some yacfers have rather more than five trees but I can't imagine how they can possibly find the time to look after them properly and deal with all the fruit and have a life as well.

d.

border-rider

Re: Apples
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2011, 09:30:56 pm »
A small (12 litre) press arrived today, courtesy of eBay

Next week the Gwent Wildlife Trust orchards officer is coming to talk to us about planting more apples.

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Apples
« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2011, 11:11:14 pm »
Would be interested to hear how you get on, MV. This year's bumper crop has really piqued my interest in the subject.

Even more so since a chance remark on Twitter led to us selling 20kg of our apples to a local juice bar!

d.

border-rider

Re: Apples
« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2011, 09:14:24 pm »
We spent the afternoon squishing apples today. Here's our production line (luckily it was a very warm day so we could do it outside; it's really messy)



That little 12 litre press gives about 9 litres of juice per pressing.  We made 27 litres today and we still have loads of apples left.

RJ

  • Droll rat
Re: Apples
« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2011, 10:15:12 pm »
MV, somewhere not a million miles from you is someone who will (I imagine for a reasonable fee) press and bottle your apples for you.  I can find out details from my folks, if the mess from the press gets overwhelming ...

The best apples in the world as far as I'm concerned are the Ashmead's Kernels from my parents' garden (Cox-like in appearance, but a much better flavour)

border-rider

Re: Apples
« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2011, 10:16:34 pm »
MV, somewhere not a million miles from you is someone who will (I imagine for a reasonable fee) press and bottle your apples for you.  I can find out details from my folks, if the mess from the press gets overwhelming ...

yes please - if not this year then for the future since we intend to plant more apples.

RJ

  • Droll rat
Re: Apples
« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2011, 10:20:18 pm »
MV, somewhere not a million miles from you is someone who will (I imagine for a reasonable fee) press and bottle your apples for you.  I can find out details from my folks, if the mess from the press gets overwhelming ...

yes please - if not this year then for the future since we intend to plant more apples.

On the case ...

border-rider

Re: Apples
« Reply #9 on: November 06, 2011, 10:24:19 pm »
Thank you, that''s most kind :)

Re: Apples
« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2011, 01:30:40 pm »
Do any of you know what the situation is about pollution and apples?  We have an apple tree in our garden, which is only fifteen feet from a very busy main road.  I know that lead pollution is negligible now but suspect that there are plenty of other noxious substances in exhaust fumes.  Are the apples likely to be ok to eat?  We've always left them for the birds and varmints (everything is eaten) but I tasted one today and it was delicious!

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Apples
« Reply #11 on: November 13, 2011, 08:23:46 am »
Good question. Four of our trees are in the front garden, just a few metres from a busy main road. Hadn't really thought about the pollution problem. But we have an 8ft hedge between us and the road and I suspect that takes the brunt of it - the trees are probably ok. Surely it would affect their growth if the pollution were a problem? Ours seem vigorous enough. If your tree looks healthy, it probably is.

d.

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Apples
« Reply #12 on: November 13, 2011, 08:31:22 am »
Thinking about it, I'm fairly sure that 15ft is plenty far enough away from the road to be safe.

d.

border-rider

Re: Apples
« Reply #13 on: November 13, 2011, 08:31:44 am »
You'd probably want to wash them thoroughly but I'd think that would be it.  It's not as if it's lead, as you say.

I'm always amazed by how close some vineyards are to major roads in France...

border-rider

Re: Apples
« Reply #14 on: November 13, 2011, 10:54:51 am »
Well, we have 4 gallons of cider on the go now; I did the safe thing of clearing the gunk from the juice, killing any natural yeast and then inoculating half with cider yeast, the other half with Champagne yeast to see the difference.  They're fermenting like rockety things at the moment; OG was about 1050, which seems about right.

Today I'm going to start the experiment of trying the traditional farmhouse way by just leaving the juice in a cool place for several months and letting the wild yeasts do their thing.

Re: Apples
« Reply #15 on: November 13, 2011, 11:42:02 am »
Well, we have 4 gallons of cider on the go now

 :thumbsup:

Quote
Today I'm going to start the experiment of trying the traditional farmhouse way by just leaving the juice in a cool place for several months and letting the wild yeasts do their thing.


tiermat

  • According to Jane, I'm a Unisex SpaceAdmin
Re: Apples
« Reply #16 on: November 13, 2011, 11:45:20 am »
As long as you can keep the fruit flies out of it, MV, it should be good, but keeping those tiny little buggers out of fermenting fruit juice is the devils own job :)

You may just end up with a large batch of cider vinegar, which is no bad thing in itse;f, but is if you are expecting cider....

PS have you now got your smock, floppy hat and piece of straw (for hanging out of the corner of your mouth) on order?
I feel like Captain Kirk, on a brand new planet every day, a little like King Kong on top of the Empire State

border-rider

Re: Apples
« Reply #17 on: November 13, 2011, 02:10:13 pm »
Mmm

It's a warm & sunny day here and the fruit flies are out in force. There was no way I could keep them out of proceedings whilst mashing & pressing so my only hope is that the alcohol bugs take off & kill off the vinegar ones. The apples were windfalls so they'd anyway have had all sorts of organisms on them.

I have a hat, but no smock or straw as yet. These things take time...

ETO: it's interesting how the colour changes. It starts off dark brown & gloopy, a bit like gravy, as it comes out of the press, and the stuff I cleared last week ended up beer-coloured, but as it ferments it's becoming much lighter. Presumably the yeast is eating whatever oxidation products gave it its darkness.

Re: Apples
« Reply #18 on: November 14, 2011, 05:56:55 pm »
Just got back to this, chaps.  Thanks for your comments on the pollution question.  Not sure about the 15 feet being far enough (Think LA!)  but you could well be right.  I hope so, because they taste just great!  Good luck!

RJ

  • Droll rat
Re: Apples
« Reply #19 on: November 21, 2011, 08:19:15 pm »
MV, somewhere not a million miles from you is someone who will (I imagine for a reasonable fee) press and bottle your apples for you.  I can find out details from my folks, if the mess from the press gets overwhelming ...

yes please - if not this year then for the future since we intend to plant more apples.

Here you go:  http://www.abervalleyfruits.co.uk/contact/default.html

Have PM'd corroboratory details beyond "found you on the internet" ...

border-rider

Re: Apples
« Reply #20 on: November 21, 2011, 09:48:25 pm »
Thank you !


Re: Apples
« Reply #21 on: March 02, 2012, 10:45:38 pm »
Having been lurking for a while i saw this thread and signed up so that i could post a link to Stephen Hayes http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_jqgWXlUHM he's made loads of short films to share his enthusiasm growing and looking after fruit trees.

Re: Apples
« Reply #22 on: March 24, 2012, 09:29:47 pm »
Here's a couple more links, unfortunately I live to high up and our apples never ripen, but they still make good sauce

http://www.welshcider.co.uk/

http://www.real-cider.co.uk/welsh-cider-festival/

cider making has quite an interesting history, there's still a couple of farms round here that have a barrel or two at shearing time, everyone just helps themselves  :thumbsup:

Re: Apples
« Reply #23 on: March 25, 2012, 06:54:16 pm »
Growing fruit at altitude was mentioned on GQT today, Bob Flowerdew reckons that thinning the fruit allows the tree to pump it's resources into ripening the reduced crop.  An early variety also being advised to maximise likelihood of ripening.

Re: Apples
« Reply #24 on: April 29, 2012, 10:19:42 pm »
We used the last of the apples stored from last year's crop today.
It was a very good year - our one medium sized Newton Wonder (about 10 feet high) produced 100 kgs.