Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Harvest of Apples and Grapes Continues

For someone who doesn't even cook dinners more than once or twice per week, I have been doing a LOT of home canning lately.  First was the apple juice from the "mystery" apple tree.  Then a few batches of mint syrup from the chocolate mint in my garden.  Then I did that batch of grape juice from the grapes I needed to pick a bit prematurely last week.  Funny how such green grapes can turn into such pink juice:
Anyhow, today I picked some of the apples from the espalier tree, mostly to thin the top-most apples, since I have been a bit neglectful recently, and to pick the bottom-most apples which are ripe.  I also picked some of the asian pears, to lighten up the branches.  This is what I brought in today, and I have much more on the two espalier trees :
Since some of the apple (top-most ones) were too tart, I decided to make juice from some of the apples, and from some of the grapes left over from last week which we didn't end up eating.   (I picked some grapes today, and they were much sweeter and easier to eat.)  I ended up with a large juice jar, and small individual size juice jar.  The apple-grape blend is particularly tasty but ends up pretty drinkable, without adding much water (although quite a bit of sugar).

The bottom-most apple was ripe, but many of them appeared to be bruised, even though I know they didn't fall.  That must be some sort of disease, which shows up as brown spots inside the apple.  I don't remember it last year.  Does anyone recognize this condition?
Anyhow, I still have more fruit coming, in addition to the apples and asian pears.  The italian plums produced a very light crop this year, not a heavy one like last year, but when I sampled one today, it was sweet.  I would have asked my husband to help climb a ladder to pick them today, but we'll be mostly away the next couple of days, so won't likely have a chance to eat them.  Better we wait and pick and eat them fresh.

The fall gold raspberries are absolutely amazing, with large and sweet fruit.  I ate quite a few handfuls today, when I was out cleaning up the garden.  I put in about 3 hours today, and had my 13 year old join me also, and managed to haul out 8 wheelbarrows of weeds and cuttings!!  Mostly blackberry vines and morning glory vines, which were quite out of control this year.  The few areas I tackled look MUCH better now.

On a totally unrelated topic, I stumbled upon these adorable bear-hugging-a-nut cookies at this site, and had to share them.  Wouldn't that be awesome for a kids' party (except for a nut-free one!) ? :

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