And then the apples began –

Yesterday just as I was getting into the swing of freezing corn on the cob, with the sweetcorn garden  relish bubbling away, and the bread rising on the racks above the stove where a tray of sweetcorn kernels were drying, my neighbour popped over with a very welcome bag of  tiny cucumbers for pickling  (knowing I cannot grow a pickling cucumber to save myself).  She has been picking corn each morning too.  I turned the relish down and  we wandered about the gardens (like you do) she looked up and  said, “Oh you have apple pie apples.”


“Oh?” I said. “No. Those are awful apples. I feed them to the animals by the bucket load.  They are nasty, all floury and ick”.

“Apple sauce, apples.”  She said. “They cook up in minutes.”

“Now?” I said.

“They look ready to me.” She said, as we both immediately, like a reflex, lifted our T shirts to form pouches and began filling our clothing with apples.

“Bugger.” I said and went for the bucket.

“Get two.” she called.

The woman is from Georgia, she knows stuff.


“This tree has been here so long no-one knows its name.”  I grumbled as I went in search of the elusive buckets.” This is the first time in years it has even had apples.”

“Apple pie tree.”  She said to the tree already lost in the laden branches.


The bees did a good job on that tree this year. And the long cool spring helped them set.  And now I shall add apple sauce to my mornings work. I have put the word out and am hoping that a few more of my friends who love food will come with their ladders and picking aprons and we can unburden this tree.

I made one pot of apple sauce quickly last night by roughly chopping the apples, cooking (skin, cores and all) then quickly pushing them through my ancient tomato sieve. My neighbour was right. The flesh of these apples just puffs up and cooks like a dream.  The result was a silky smooth apple sauce that we ate hot with dinner. Not too sweet either, which I like. And no I am not adding sugar and cinnamon.  But I have to pop over to the Bartolini Kitchens, this morning, I am sure I saw John making apple sauce last year, I need to brush up on my technique. This year I am putting as much as I can into jars, reducing my dependency on the freezer.  But I have to get it right.


The bees are doing very well now by the way. The hive is noisy and busy. You will remember that I combined the two hives and now we have one very strong hive. I shall have to have a peek inside soon and see if they need another super. It appears that they were not knocked too badly by the spraying. The bees in the fields will have been lost but they are still very active. And hopefully Cleopatra is hard at work. 


I am still thinking I will not give them a honey super. Best we save everything for the winter this year, so they are strong enough to divide again next spring. Fingers crossed.


Good morning. The weather is still cool, we have not been out of the 70’s and low 80’s in almost a week. Which is fantastic for working in the kitchen and garden but not so good for the ripening of the tomatoes. As you know the tomatoes are our big crop. I make gallons of tomat conserva (my favourite) and tomato sauce, and chopped tomatoes.  In fact I cannot have enough tomatoes.

We get one or two tomatoes a day though.  I eat one on toast with basil for breakfast every morning. I am missing my fresh cheese. I used to make that and yoghurt every week when I was milking. But the milk I buy is too expensive for that.

Well I had better drag the ladders out of the peach tree and into the apples and get picking and cooking.  Then on with the day. What a fantastic time of year.

your friend in the trees , celi

57 Comments on “And then the apples began –

  1. I love applesauce apples. My grandma makes the best applesauce with them…it is however laden with sugar. I just love it! 🙂

    • well I am having to reconsider the no sugar rule as the others turned their nose up at the tartness. So I shall have to make different batches and label them Mine and Theirs. c

  2. What a hive of activity! I bet you are missing the cheese, especially when you have good tomatoes to go with it. I wonder if those apples would be good for making cider – not that you don’t have enough to do 😉

    • They are more floury than juicy. We have another tree laden with apples that have been earmarked for the cider, which reminds me I need to bottle the wine and the honey mead. John just hates to bottle. He fears someone might escape with a bottle and drink itn!!

    • Apple butter is new to me and very sweet.and i hate cinnamon. (very unamerican) But I will make one lot for my Mother in Law, she likes it. c

  3. My apples look ready, too!!! Trying to keep the birds and deer away has been a challenge but…I may pick some today and make that sauce.

    • I love apple sauce and so it is a thrill to have a tree with nce big apple sauce apples on it! Hope you can get some before the birds get them.. c

  4. Another couple of weeks for my early apples, but my big tree is laden too…Hoping life settles just a bit before they start coming in.
    We have a new family member – pop over for a look 🙂

  5. i like my applesauce tart too. those apples are the best for sauce. we always called them sponge apples. will you show how you make your tomato conser? and how do you use it? spread on bread? also, do you read this blog? she has lots of good info!

    • I do read her blog in fact her farm is where I’m buying my milk at the moment! What a small world. I am desperately hoping she will hold a soap making class soon so that I can learn from her. Her soap is fantastic.

  6. Identifying the Apple Sauce tree will be a great boon, Celi, though I wonder how happy the animals will be, deprived of their fresh apple sauce! Careful up those ladders …. 🙂

  7. Are they also called Transparent Apples or am I getting them mixed up with another kind? I remember helping my sister make applesauce with some that looked like those. What a wonderful thing to have a neighbor who could help out!!!

    • I will ask my neighbour. i have no idea what it is called. I encourage everyone to come over and pick whatever they want when i have a glut. Especially with corn and fruit.Though nothing will be wasted, one way or the other everything is eaten by a human or an animal.. c

  8. There are a couple of summer apples – the one ripening now in Iowa is Lodi. It’s a very thin-skinned yellow apple that doesn’t keep very well, but boy!, it makes tasty applesauce!

    • That actually sounds a bit like mine, When i put it through the mouli there was hardly anything left over, the skins are so thin. c

  9. Pork roast and apple sauce…. oh man now my mouth is watering… Linda (my Wife) used to pick these same sauce apples as she called them and made dried fruit from them… mulched them up and compressed them into layers and out side in the sun to dry… and walla dried apple rolls… she used for cooking and the kids use to love eating them just like that…

    • oh that sounds divine, our humidity is too awful for drying though i am being encouraged to try to dry fruit in one of the old cars that sit about, they get very hot in there. Maybe I will try the apple leather.. thank you! c

  10. Good morning Celi; is there any such thing as to many tomatoes? building a pole barn from scratch my own wood ugh. I otta get a chainsaw mill. good times mike

    • You should get a mill, you have so many trees too i bet you get some good timber out of there.. busy fellow.. c

  11. Early for any apples to be ready – our spring didn’t start until the end of May and Summer’s been and gone.(July) We’re now wearing sweaters and waterproofs and the liquidambar leaves are falling rather than turning red!
    I love tart apple sauce, specially with pork (sorry Shush sisters and babies). I use Bramleys when I can get them from an English friend. The French don’t like mushy apples. Your apple-sauce tree would be no good for cider.- they use the tartest, tattiest apples here for cider, which is our local vin du pays.


    • Yes John is watching our big tart tatty tree with delight, it also has more apples on it than ever before. He loves making cider. Though his pear cider is better! c

  12. hello Apple Celi..sort of like Apple Jelly..what a great time you are having. In Bulgaria it is very after day after day…..

    • that must be great for your garden, or is it hot and dry, that would be hard on your garden!! c

  13. What a happy name for the tree–Apple Pie Tree! 🙂 I was interested in hearing that you take core and all into your processing. I wouldn’t have thought that possible, but it would certainly make for quicker work! I’m thinking your animals have been having a little secret chuckle for all this time, realizing they were having a wonderful treat that was going unnoticed. It sounds delicious!

  14. Great apple result Celi! There are “wild apple” tree near the cabin. I suppose at some point some homesteader decided that apples were a good idea. Anyway, they are terrible eating apples but make the best apple sauce and pie in the world, so I completely know what your friend is talking about. 🙂 Those apples I have to share with the bears who know they are there, but there are more than enough to share. Oh, also, the ancient apple tree in the back yard in Vancouver has been so grateful that it’s given us loads of apples this year. 🙂

    • wish you were too, someone to chat to in the kitchen while you work makes all the difference! c

  15. The apple tree sounds almost magical. Excellent its magic was pointed out to you. Hope your tomatoes get going. I planted three little plants which seem to be thriving save for producing tomatoes. They smell nice and I shall wire some tomatoes from the market onto the branches when it gets bigger.

  16. Miss C what are you doing with the gherkins/cornichon? I grow a couple of French varieties ‘petit verte blanc’ and something ‘De Paris’…. they seem to do ok for me, treated like cucumbers I grow them up a frame but here’s the trick nip out the first flowers to appear until the plant gets to about 12″ long, that way it sends its energy into growing and not it’s energy to the first few cucumbers. Talking of cucumbers I do the same, pinching out.
    Oh and I much prefer apple pie apples for apple pie….. and I like tautologies too 🙂

  17. Oh how exciting, C! I would come help you if I could! I prefer my apple sauce on the tart side, as well, but sometimes you have to please the masses 🙂

  18. We had a grove of apple trees in our last house, and I loved the apple sauce I Made with them. But no matter how many I cooked, gave away and invited friends over to pick their own bags I always felt too wasteful when it became impossible to pick them all. But the bees loved the leftovers!

  19. It is a busy time of year when it comes time to harvest all that goodness.

  20. Multitasking to such an extent I can well manage in the office, but in spite of my love of cooking hate to think what messes I would create with about five things going on at the same time in the kitchen!! Have to look up your ‘tomat conserva’ to see whether this means a form of passata or not . . . [offbeat aside, in Estonian ‘tomat’ = English ‘tomato’ 🙂 !]

  21. You sure do keep yourself busy, Celi! Now you’re working with apples. Thanks for the shout-out, though I’ve yet to make sauce tis year. I’m waiting for the sweet apples (Honey Crisps, Gala, etc.) to come into the markets. Like you, I don’t use any sugar or cinnamon. If someone wants it, they can always add some to the jar. Much of mine goes to one of the boys upstairs and I doubt his Mom would like me to give him all that sugar. 🙂

  22. I have just been reading to my granddaughter Mira a wonderful Margaret Mahy story called
    Jam’ about a house husband whose plum tree was so bountiful that he used up all his jam jars, then filled the vases and teapot and sherry glasses with jam. The whole family had to eat jam for a whole year. Then just as they emptied the cupboard and breathed a big sigh of relief, they looked up at the tree, and it was raining plums again.
    This story jumped right into my mind when I heard your tale of the apple pie tree!

  23. In Ireland we call them ‘cooking apples’ The tart taste is used for apple tart/pie, baked apples (cored and filled with sweet mince) Apple sauce to go with pork and to make apple jelly – a clear jam made with the end of the crop or the windfalls. I also like to slice them in thick rings and grill or bake in the oven to serve with savory dishes.

  24. Who knew having a neighbor from Georgia would be such a catch?! 😉 We used to find those that type of apples on hikes with the dogs in Washington. Now I’m kicking myself that I would throw them like a ball for the dogs while we hiked and then they would eat them as a treat. I should have been gathering them and making applesauce!

    I’ve missed the farmy, it’s good to check in every now and then! Summer is busy, busy.

    ~ April

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