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Friday, September 27, 2013

Foraging 101: Wild Apples

I'm not sure if you can really call apples "wild", because they aren't native, but they are something edible that grow along fence rows and roadsides so I'm including it in the foraging series. There is one tree alongside a field we rent that was FULL of apples this year! I took some brothers and sisters down to pick off our tree and we got about a bushel of pretty nice apples. Of course there were some wormy ones, but I suppose you get what you pay for.

You can do a lot with apples. I made cider with today's bushel. It took me an hour to prepare the apples, then I ran them through my new-used Breville juicer that I got at a garage sale. There are many ways to make cider; BF's family used a mop press this year (YouTube it! It's pretty cool).

My juice separated! It was really weird. This usually happens when I do juice, but should it happen with cider?? I'm not sure. I took some measurements and the sugar content was right around 13%. I watched a fascinating documentary one time on the history of apples with part of it being on cider making. In the old days each tree had a different flavor because they were all grown from seeds. There was no such thing as a true "Macintosh" or "Granny Smith". It was grafting (or cloning) that made it possible for apples to have consistent flavors. I also learned that a good eating apple might make a horrible cider apple, but a sour "bad" eating apple might make a fantastic fresh or hard cider, just as there are, for example, good pie apples.

So what are ya waiting for? Go find yourself a good apple tree and make something!

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