As I told you earlier, we rented two organic apple trees. One, the Paula Red, was ready to be picked in August. We’d picked blueberries and strawberries before but not apples, so we weren’t sure what to expect.
Picking the Organic Apple Tree
The farm owners e-mailed us on a Thursday and said the tree was ready to be picked and would need to be picked in the next 10 days. Any later than that and there wouldn’t be any apples left on the tree. We made it to the apple orchard 7 days later, and I’m sure that we looked like total city slickers in our shorts and sandals.
When the worker showed us our tree, he also pointed to the ground below and said, “Watch out for that plant–it’s poison ivy.” There was poison ivy everywhere around the tree, and we all had sandals on!
That pretty much meant that the girls couldn’t pick and Bookworm could only pick on the outer branches. I picked what I could, and my husband braved the inner branches, trying to step on the poison ivy to keep it down. Even with this obstacle, we picked the tree clean in less than 45 minutes.
We did notice that we missed out by not coming to the orchard right away. A large number of the apples from our tree were already on the ground. When we pick our next tree in October, we’ll come right away, and we’ll wear pants and socks!
All told, we got 94 pounds of apples.
What We Did with The Apples
I wish I could say that I went right home and made applesauce, but that was the week I was taking care of my mom who was recovering from knee replacement surgery, so instead, the apples sat in boxes at room temperature for 5 days. As soon as we got home, we started making applesauce.
My plan was to can half of the applesauce and freeze the other half, but I think I must be the worst canner in the world! My recipe said to leave the quart jars with 1/4 inch head space, but when I opened the water bath after processing for 20 minutes, applesauce was oozing out of the cans everywhere!
Instead, I ended up freezing 22 quarts. I also took 4 other quarts and turned them into apple butter in the slow cooker. We ate one container of apple butter over the next week (yum!) and froze 3 more containers.