Monday 4 November 2013

It's an apple year

When we bought the house, we spotted the old fruit trees in the back garden - several neglected plums and a big apple tree, almost swamped by tamarisk.

Jerry under the apple tree
The Touraine Apple Munchers Association (les Croquers de pommes de Touraine) identified our apples as Reinette Blanche, an old variety suitable for both eating and cooking.  The ripe fruit is a lovely primrose yellow, sometimes flushed with pink, and with russet patches and/or nets of fine speckles. According to, it is also known as Reinette Blanche du Canada, Reinette du Canada and even just "Canada", and it is widely grown in France.

A windfall

Unfortunately, it's not a great keeper thanks to the birds and insects that constantly attack the fruit. No sprays, of course - even if we wanted to spray, the tree is next to the millstream and sprays are banned close to a watercourse (not that it stops the farmers mutter mutter....)

Last year, the year of no fruit, it bore nothing at all because an ill-timed frost wiped out the flowers here and in almost every orchard in the district. The tree is making up for it this year - the fruit are not overly numerous but they are extremely large, some specimens weighing over 350 grammes. Let's say 200 apples at 250 grammes apiece, about 50 kilos, that's a lot of compote. So far, only those apples receiving direct sunlight are ready to pick. One low-hanging fruit, sheltered by leaves and branches, is my barometer. I keep giving it the twist and flip treatment but it's holding on tight at the moment.

Low-hanging fruit

So far I have made and bottled mincemeat, three flavours of compote (plain, with grapefruit marmalade, and with honey), made cake, baked apples, eaten the things raw, grated with cereal, in slaw... Can't even give them away as everyone with an apple tree is doing the same. People seeing you approaching with a bag of apples tend to turn smartish in the opposite direction, or pretend not to be at home. One approach is to hang the bag from a door handle (house or car) and run for it. Could just work... bother, they spotted me!


Tim said...

The low-hanging fruit just parted company with the tree.

Colin and Elizabeth said...

We know that problem, can't give em away. We did have one answer, we took several boxes back to the UK and gave them to the poor souls there!!!

Pollygarter said...

By Ryanair? I took as many as I could - one!

Colin and Elizabeth said...

By Road.

Pollygarter said...

It's been a great year for apples in the UK too - nobody wanted them there either!