Autumn in the Midwest is quintessentially apple time. Wonderful apples in abundance and sweet cider that rivals the ambrosias of the Greeks. Ok, that is a little overboard, but nothing beats apple cider from a farm market in the fall. Nothing!
If you have a freezer and a good source of unadulterated cider ( no pasteurization, no preservatives} I highly recommend buying your supply, emptying out a cupful ( to make room for the freezing) and storing in your freezer.
We always did that before the freezer went on the fritz. It was just plain luxury to break out a January bottle of cider, mulled with spices of cinnamon and allspice, and sip it in the dead of Winters cold. It brought some of the cozy richness of autumn into midwinter bleakness.
There are so many varieties of apples, and they have some special uses they are good for…many of the old fashioned types were prized for the quality of cider they produced. Not all apples an outstanding cider make. You don’t want mere apple juice, my friend.
When I first started to garden I dreamed of my own orchard. When I moved to the country I began researching and then planting one. I have the two non-descript apple trees I started with, and three old fashioned types. Unfortunately I am neither a qualified orchardist nor is my situation the best for growing fruit. My cherries have done the best since they are in the only protected spot on the lot. The apples fare as well as they can on windblown prairie. I wish I had thought about the fact that I wasn’t going to want to spray my trees, I still am glad I planted them for the spring bloom, however.
Even blemished apples are good for applesauce, though.
A few varieties to look for in the markets:
- Jonagold is far better than the Golden Delicious in my book.
- Johnathon’s are little and they don’t keep well, but this is the best season for this very tasty aromatic apple.
- Golden Russet,Ginger Gold -two goldens to look for- sweet!
- MacIntosh is my favorite for salads, good taste, firm, and doesn’t brown
- Cox Orange Pippin, oldtime good for eating
Apples good for baking are your best bet for baked desserts and for homey baked apples, Braeburn is very good for this, but then some say “Spys for pies!”. Green ones like Granny’s are favorites for some, I like them cooked, their tartness is a nice dimension
Check out the Apple Journal.