So many apples, so little time

It’s late September and we are nearing the end of the apple picking season in the Maritimes. If you have ever been near an apple tree or an orchard between August and October, you know that there are few things to be careful of when collecting apples – especially “drop apples”, which are the ones that fall from the tree before they can be picked. Worms, bugs, and hornets all abound.

Freshly Peeled - Sarah Peel (Cara Smith/AQ)

At home, our apple trees are nestled at the front of our property on our lawn between the sheep pasture and one of the horse pastures. The lawn often becomes a pasture as well when a certain retired show horse makes his way through the electric fence and begins his favourite occupation of “lawn mowing”.

On my farm, you have to be very careful to share your basket with the nearby critters and make sure the border collie doesn’t mistake your booty for a speckled red ball. The sheep and horses are pretty insistent about getting their share and will go through fences, trees, and pockets if their demands are ignored.
Our sheep are a miniature breed from Scotland called “Shetlands” known for their soft, light wool and ornery
attitudes. They have a tendency to escape from the pasture confines and are generally found keeping company with Monty, our retired quarter horse gelding.

Due to our demanding menagerie, our apple crop is always somewhat limited, though this year we have had an excellent growing season in New Brunswick.

The cold weather we’ve had lately reminds me of the day my mom showed me how to make applesauce. Last fall, a few days before I came back to school, my mom and I gathered some drop apples accompanied by Monty and our blind sheep Folly, who kept running into the basket and knocking it over – much to Monty’s enjoyment! This was one of those times when many hands made for more work.
Luckily for you, you can find local, fresh apples all over Fredericton at the weekend Farmers’ Markets and small businesses without having to share with four-legged sidekicks. Plus, this recipe for applesauce is super-quick, easy and delicious warm or cold.

Mom’s Apple Sauce:
2-3 apples
½ cup white sugar
1tbs brown sugar
1tbs butter
Nutmeg and/or cinnamon to taste

– Cut up apples in small chunks. Place in pot with enough water to cover
apples (can add more as necessary to thin out dependent on your preference). Bring
to a boil. Turn down to medium/low heat and add sugar and nutmeg/cinnamon. Allow to soften. Will look like apple sauce after 10-20 minutes. Stir intermittently.

Add butter at end once everything mushy. Can add more sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg to taste. Enjoy!

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