When we bought our homestead, the dream of putting in a full fruit orchard was vivid. Each year we have slowly added to our orchard, with this year being no exception. The difference this year is that we added a lot of trees. Not just one or two but more than 20. We added ten sugar maples, three crab apples, three heritage apples, three cherry trees, two peaches (one white one regular), three plums, two pears and an apricot. We also added two hazelnut trees near the chicken coop. While the new trees provided only a handful of fruit and some not any, the older, more established apples have been producing quality apples for the last month and show no signs of slowing down! An excellent, though exhausting problem to have.
We have two, maybe three, trees that are pretty much done, so I would say that they are late summer varieties. Another two in full swing and a few more not yet ripe. Needless to say, we have apples everywhere. Not using them seems like a crime.
The first and most obvious is apple sauce. I currently have over 18 gallons of canned applesauce in the basement and another batch in the crockpot as I type this, another six quarts or so.
So what else is there to do? A quick Google search will provide endless options. The next thing I decided to try was apple pie filling. I found this recipe and decided to give it a try. At the same time, I found a recipe for boiled molasses and was even more intrigued. The idea of making my own cider held some appeal so I decided to first focus on the pie filling. The recipe calls for 10 cups of water or 5 cups water, 5 cups apple juice or cider. Since I was already interested in trying to make some cider, on the first night, I made a big batch of cider.
The next day I used that same cider (refrigerated overnight) to make the apple pie filling. Here is the recipe I ended up using:
Apple Pie Filling:
6 1/2 -7 quarts Apples -- peeled and sliced