These are the apple days of September when we find Johnny Appleseed has left his footprints all along the roads of Northern Michigan. The apple crop is ripe, with the early birds like the Transparent and the Dutch already deer fodder. Before those breeds fell to the ground in late August, I found, picked and made crisp from their distant relatives. Picked just before ripe, they are deliciously tart and make scrumptious crisps and pies, not bad in my oatmeal, either.
What I find now are orphans without names. Many are sweetly bland, some are bitter or hard and sour, but every once in a while you will find nature has created a gem. That is what I am looking for.
Some years the trees are eerily empty. Apples seem to have on and off years for some reason. This year the trees have been loaded and loaded apple trees also bring an abundance of rummaging deer. Apples are one of their favorite autumn munchies and deer cherish the good apples just as we do. On certain trees, I have seen them stand on their hind legs to reach up and snatch any fruit within their grasp. I expect they will soon show me their trick of grasping a limb and shaking all the apples to the ground.
A tree with all the lower apples missing is always a good indication the apple is edible. Those are the trees I am likely to wade through the briars in order to sample. Apple sampling is like wine tasting, jumping from one vineyard to another trying to avoid the hangover, so just like sampling wines, I taste the apples and then spit them out. That way I avoid the road apple stomach ache.
Road apples are great for apple sauces and delectable butters. They can be juiced by themselves or intermixed with other fruits and fresh garden vegetables.
These roadsides delectables are completely ignored and underutilized by almost everyone but the nature savvy. People have come to expect apples to be and look like those perfect and often tasteless beauty queens for sale at the supermarket. You can’t even get a worm to get into one of those with a Monsanto facelift, and that should be your first hint that maybe Meijer’s isn’t the best place in the world to go apple shopping. Give me an organic ditch apple any day.
My just Reward!
My children’s book GOBLIN’S GOOP is about Goblins and Monsanto’s Evil Empire. It is full of bugs, birds and a myriad of other nature’s critters. A great read for your young reader. Just click on the picture and get your copy today!
Richard Rensberry, Author at QuickTurtle Books®