hen you hear any talk about heirlooms in farming circles you can usually assume someone is talking about heirloom breeds of poultry, or other livestock. I don’t get too worked up about heirloom chickens but heirloom apples and fruits are another story. While I can be ho-hum about eating a delicious Cornish Cross chicken for Sunday dinner, you won’t see me eating a Red Delicious apple nor do I care for the many of the newer sweet varieties.
Our King trees were literally covered with large apples this year; they are a good all-around cooking and eating apple; and they keep well, so we picked several boxes for storage and continually gathered windfalls for canning and the cow. It was a good couple of weeks working in tandem with the Pileated Woodpeckers, for some reason they relish the Kings, and work the top of the trees pretty hard.
I finally finished my last batch of chunky applesauce yesterday with 56 quarts on the shelf. I felt a little guilty peeling those giant apples just to cut them in small pieces. Granted, they were windfalls, with a bruise here and there but I couldn’t help liken the process to my quilting. My, we live charmed quilting and applesauce lives these days, buying large pieces of fabric just to cut them into small pieces so we can sew them together and form a large piece of fabric. Or taking large apples to cut them into small pieces. I found myself saving the largest apples to snack on instead of committing them to obscurity in a jar of sauce. I thought it best to savor the apple in its whole form, just like those many yards of fabric that I just can’t bear to cut and have to save…for what I have no idea.
But apples aren’t for saving too long, so now that the apple canning is out of the way we can enjoy the fall season a little longer with our stored bounty.
What apple varieties have stood the test of time in your area?