SOS! What do you do with a large—a very large—bagful of wild apples, hard and green and sized like golf balls? Google doesn’t have a page for this.
Refusing the apples is not an option. Ten-year-old squidgelet took a shopping bag, put on jeans and wellies and fought his way through undergrowth and thorns to the back end of a desolate wasteland where someone must have thrown away an apple core decades ago. “It was difficult,” he says proudly, “and I got hurt and scratched.” He has provided for his family, like a cat bringing home what cats bring home, and my role is clear: to accept them, to cook them and to submit the results for his approval.
Did I bring this on myself? Ever since my children could walk I have taken them berry-picking, and as they’ve grown older we’ve discussed the advantages of wild-grown, pesticide-free, zero-carbon fruit. So here I stand with a load of wild-grown, pesticide-free, zero-carbon, rock-hard fruit, and I must make something edible of it if it costs me a week’s struggle.
I laboriously cut and peeled the largest of the hoard and made an apple crumble. I added a few more, cored but unpeeled, to homemade fruit smoothies—not too many, because of their acidity. A week or so passed as more bags of tiny apples piled up at the kitchen door. Finally I hit upon the idea I’ve used ever since: core the apples, boil them with sugar and put them through the food processor, skins and all. I use some of the puree for pies, combined with blackberries or plums, and I freeze the rest. It’s a year’s worth of apple crumbles and cinnamon-apple cakes.
Thank you, squidgelet. It was difficult, and it took some work on my part, but I’m building quite a reputation for the distinctive appley flavours in my home baking.
~ Fiona Jones