Say what?! Bruised apples? Delicious? You bet. Here’s the story.
Whenever Fruit Share goes on an apple pick, the first step is clearing away any existing fallen fruit. Any existing fallen fruit should NOT be used, it should go into the compost bin. Why? Well, there’s no way of knowing how long it’s been there, who’s been visiting that fruit (cats, dogs, racoons, wasps, etc.) and generally what shape it’s in. Be safe and clear it all away.
Once it’s been removed, you can begin picking.
You’ll soon notice that as you pick, some fruit, especially the really sweet, juicy ripe fruit, will drop to the ground. It’s hard not to cringe when they thump onto the grass or smash into concrete or other hard objects. But, not all is lost. Those freshly dropped, bumped, bruised and scraped apples can still be used, as long as there’s someone willing to take them and use them right away.
Gather them up and place them in a separate container. Even if they’re not showing any signs of bruising – put them in a separate container for freshly dropped fruit. Sometimes it takes a while for the bruise to show and if you mix them in with non-blemished apples, they may end up spoiling the whole batch. If you’re really concerned about picking fruit from the ground, cover the ground underneath the tree with a large drop cloth to catch the fallen fruit. I don’t worry about it too much, knowing I’m going to be boiling those apples anyway.
At our recent pick at Mrs. O’s house, we ended up with about 25 lbs of dropped, bruised apples. I turned those apples into 7 litres of delicious, sweet applesauce. Here’s how.
Wash the apples.
Cut out big bruises and blemishes and then cut apples into equal, small chunks. As long as the pieces are approximately the same size, it doesn’t matter which direction you cut them in. Notice I don’t worry about removing the stems, seeds, blossom ends, etc, I’ll do that later.
Place in a big stock pot with about 1 cup of water.
Simmer until apples have gone to mush.
Using a foley mill or a regular kitchen strainer and back of a spoon, separate the skins, seeds and stems.
What comes out is beautiful apple sauce.
Add any spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, pie spice, allspice, etc.) or sweetener you desire. Taste it first though – you may not need a thing!
What to do with all this sauce?
- freeze it
- can it
- dehydrate it into fruit leather
- make apple butter
- eat it as is
- eat it as an accompaniment to other dishes – granola, latke, pork chops, zucchini fritters, pancakes
- make popsicles with it
- bake with it
- give it to a friend
Seriously, I’m sure you’ll come up with something!