Last year we lost all our fruit to:
a) a late freeze
This year, we avoided the late freeze (mostly), and cleared back all the trees that had grown enough to allow squirrels to get avoid the electric wire and get over the fence, and had plenty of rain. That last was especially amazing. We almost never get enough rain. We did have almost no rain in September, but basically this was an outstanding year for rainfall.
We have six apple trees: Fuji, which hardly bears most years; Honeycrisp, which ditto; Hokotu, which bears about every other year; Liberty, which is too young a tree to really predict; Goldrush, which bears heavily every other year; and Pink Lady, which bears heavily every year if you give her half a chance.
Hokotu put on a lot of apples. They ripen early and we ate them briskly; that’s not a storage apple. Like most earlier apples, it’s best used right away. Liberty is a late-ish apple and bore very, very well. Lovely unblemished apples. Excellent tree, but I’m finding that although it’s stored pretty well, the fruit, picked a month ago, is now really too sweet for me.
Goldrush bore pretty well. Tart apple, not always my favorite, but all the apples are well-flavored this year, I’m guessing because of the rain. We just picked the last of them because it’s supposed to get down under thirty in a few days.
Pink Lady as always bore a very heavy crop of good, if small, apples. They’ll easily last into March, stored in plastic bags in the fridge, with plenty of overflow stored in plastic bags in my bedroom (which I keep cold) and in an unheated garage.
Of course we are making all kinds of apple pies and cakes and things, but here is my favorite recipe so far, which helpfully uses the greatest number of apples of any single recipe I’ve tried:
This is actually a dessert. I don’t remember where I got this recipe so I don’t know who’s trying to kid whom here, but this is not remotely a salad, even though that’s what it says on my card. The original has celery in it, probably to maintain the illusion of saladness, but I zapped the celery the second time I made this because really, it is so not a salad. But if you want, you can add 1/2 C sliced celery and tell people firmly it’s a salad. Maybe they’ll buy it. Anyway:
5 apples, diced, or more like ten small Pink Lady apples. Toss in another, what the heck, some of these are practically crabapples they’re so small (I am using the smallest ones up first).
1 C chopped dates
1/2 C halved pecans
4 oz or so cream cheese, softened
4 oz or so sour cream
4 oz or so cream, whipped
1/4 C sugar, more or less
Soften the cream cheese if necessary. Beat with sour cream and sugar. Whip the cream and fold that in. Add the apples, dates, and pecans. Chill an hour or so. There you go: Umm.
Do not leave out the dates, even if you don’t like dates. I mean, you can do whatever you want, but the chewiness is very appealing in combination with the crisp apples, the sweetness is an asset with the tart Pink Ladies, and the date flavor is practically unnoticeable.