Saturday, September 16, 2017

It's an Apple Pickin' kind of day!

I went to the annual Maine Project Learning Tree fundraiser on Thursday night. The silent auction item that I coveted, and won, was the McIntosh Apple Tree U-Pick at Hazel Hill Orchard.
Today, we hightailed it to Hazel Hill Orchard to pick our first bushel of McIntosh apples. Gee... who knew how big a bushel was? Tony weighed them and this bushel is about 38 pounds!
Luckily, we brought neighbor Carla along so that she could partake in our apple frenzy;-)
Drew came up with the idea of playing William Tell, so I had to balance an apple on my head so that it could be shot off; luckily Drew forgot his dart gun;-)
Do you know the difference between Cortland and McIntosh apples by sight? Both are shown above. Which is which?
Cortland apples are striped and are more squat than Macintosh apples. They tend to ripen from late-September to mid-October.
McIntosh apples do not have stripes and sit more spherically than Cortlands. They tend to ripen from mid-September to mid-October.
And, here is Drew's first batch of applesauce. He left the peels on and followed Tony's suggestion of putting a couple of inches of water into the bottom of the pot. Then, Drew cut up 4 pounds of apples and added a few pounds at first. Then, he cooked it down, stirring occasionally. Over time, he added the next two pounds and continued to cook the apples until they were sauce-like. There are still some chunks in the sauce along with the skins. After the cooking was complete we found that the applesauce was a bit too tart, so he had to add about 1/2 cup of sugar to it. Finally, Drew added 1/2 tsp. apple pie spice. Yumster!  Canning seems like too much trouble so we are going to freeze the applesauce in one gallon ziploc bags.

Now, all we have to do is cook the other 21 pounds of apples (5 more batches of applesauce) before we go back to the orchard to pick the next 3/4 bushel or so that is left on the tree. In about 3 weeks, we'll go back for the apples on the Cortland tree that we also adopted. It will be fun to compare the flavor of the two apples. 

Geez... I think we are going to have to buy a chest freezer for all the applesauce!

Tony still has a few more trees for adoption. Visit his Facebook page. His address is Hazel Hill Orchard, 59 S. Livermore Rd., Turner, ME.

Click this link for the Maine State Pomological Society to see when different varieties of apples ripen.

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