Because technically scrumping is stealing fruit – particularly apples from an orchard. But not one to be hung up on a technicality, we went scrumping – in our orchard.
Now the thing about our orchard is I planted it at the far end of our property so we would have a reason to go to the outer reaches of our land. Otherwise you just find yourself dwelling amongst the buildings and the point of having three acres of land becomes lost. The orchard isn’t that far away from the rest of the garden. According to Google Earth it is about 130 metres, because I went there and measured it. Which is much easier to do from the comfort of my computer than measuring it out in real life. The image currently held by Google Earth has been updated again and is as recent as pre-spring last year. I love hunting around the picture for clues to tell you when the image was captured. There is probably a menu somewhere that tells you the date, but I wouldn’t know where to look!
130 metres isn’t really that far, even when you are climbing over long grass and squishing through soggy soil. But as we were gathering what we hoped would be a multitude of apples, we took the car! I say ‘we’ as I managed to enthuse Hubby the Un-Gardener to join me on this project as promised him we would turn all the windfall apples into cider!
We rounded up the kids and said “get in the car – we’re off.” They were a little puzzled to begin with… “but where are we going?” they asked quizzically, to which I replied “we’re going scrumping!” This didn’t help them at all. But we made the short trip to the orchard in no time, although Hubby the Un-Gardener popped the gears in to 4 wheel drive as it had been raining quite a bit and it wouldn’t be such a jolly jaunt if we got the car stuck in the middle of the field!
Due to the recent storms – the one that really didn’t need to be called a storm and the recent one that completely took us all by surprize, had knocked quite a few apples from the trees. I had just recently learnt that you shouldn’t store windfall apples as they don’t keep as well. So I left all the apples still attached to the tree where they were with the promise of coming back and picking them once I had somewhere suitable to store them and we scurried about the ground picking up all that lay beneath the trees.
We soon had a large basket filled with big fat cooking apples, bright green Granny Smiths, some red eating apples that I can’t remember the name of, but I have a tag for it somewhere, and some Golden Delicious. This should make a good blend for the cider. The sharpness of the cookers against the sweetness of the eaters. We could hardly wait. Our bounty was loaded into the car and we set off for home!
Once we got back to the house we set about washing the apples and cutting out the bogey bits. Optimistically we chopped them up into large chunks and set about trying to crush them in my crusher. Apples are a lot stronger than they look and they put up a lot of resistance and barely gave us a drop of juice. This could not go on if we wanted more than a thimble full of cider for our efforts, Something had to change. I whipped out my food processor and gave all our chunks of apple a good smooshing first and then we loaded them back into the crusher. This was a much better plan and soon a lovely golden juice began to flow. We managed to extract a good 6 litres that is now bubbling away in a quiet corner turning from humble juice to something way more potent. We shall know just how potent in 6 weeks – all going well!
Come again soon – while still without a kitchen, I will have to get resourceful with processing my chillies that are coming in thick and fast!
Sarah the Gardener : o )