“An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”
We like apples and seldom go a day without chomping down on one; lunch seems incomplete on those rare days when we don’t finish with an apple apiece. What’s more, there’s been enough research into their health benefits to keep us sweet on the old English proverb: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”
Our apple harvest is bountiful, along the lines of my May 2020 post: Harvesting the Sturmers. The last of them take us into November. From then till mid-February we keep the one a day notion ticking over by purchasing from the supermarket an apple named Eve.
We’ve all got an Adam’s apple, but it wouldn’t be good to have an Adam apple – it might get lodged in your throat! Eve’s very tempting though: red, crisp, oh so sweet, juicing in your mouth like a pulped, diluted version of apple juice in a can. We’ve tried other varieties, but settled on Eve – good as we’re gonna get from a supermarket shelf.
The result of a rigorous and painstaking selective breeding regimen, it’s a survivor. Survives, relatively unscathed, the bruise-worthy rough and tumble of picking (usually well before they are ripe), packing, transporting; the duration of cool storage, and life on the supermarket shelf. Survives the fickle consumer’s eye candy appeal test, mouth-feel conditioning, and ‘His and Hers’ sweet tooth. And has survived thus far, the competition that’s only a breeder’s and a grower’s supply of new apple blushes away from demanding that all the Eves be ripped out the ground, and the ground replanted with the next big thing.
We grow five apple varieties, and of those, Cox’s Orange Pippins and Braeburns were probably next big things once upon a time. I’ve occasionally seen Pippins in the shops. Braeburns are still available but they’re picked too soon and have little of the substance or intensity of flavour of the ones we ripen on the tree. There’s still a market for Granny Smiths, as green and large as ours, but, like the supermarket Braeburns, similarly lacking. And I’m pretty sure that it’s been many years since the two other varieties we grow have been for sale in the shops: Peasgood Nonsuch and Sturmers.
The large bookends of our apple season are the two tree-ripened cookers: Peasgood Nonsuch picked mid- February and Granny Smith mid-May. Granny Smiths, like Sturmers, are great keepers; they have quite a thick, chewy skin that gets waxy as they age, but they’re fine to eat raw and we’ll do just that if we run out of Sturmers.
The plan is not to run out – we started with one Sturmer, then two, and now we have three trees, all strategically sited at considerable remove from each other. Contrast that with a single tree for each of the other four varieties.
We’ll eat the early maturing Cox’s Orange Pippins from mid- Feb. through to mid April; the mid-season Braeburns take over and go through to early June; to cap it all, those wondrous late season Sturmers will hold well in cool storage for up to six months. And Eve tides us over.
There you have it: An apple a day. One a day keeping the doctor at bay!
That’s all on modern-day homesteading at Little Owl Gully till next Monday. Thanks for your company. Bye for now.