A Bushel & A Peck

Our earliest apples have been ripening for harvest! These are the Yellow Transparent variety of which we have two large trees.

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At lower altitudes and in warmer climates than ours, these super-early apples are ready in June and July. We’ve been tasting them every couple of days to determine their ripeness. I’ve also learned to watch for “apple drop” which means exactly what it sounds like. If a tree only drops damaged apples, it’s not quite ready, but once it drops good apples, it’s time for harvest. Another hint suggested by apple experts is to cut apples to see when seeds have turned black, which means they’re ready for picking, however, the Yellow Transparents’ seeds seem to remain pale always.

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I’m just learning about varieties of apples, but the folks at Big Horse Creek Farm in North Carolina are experts, and they wrote up a great story about the origins of Yellow Transparents here.

The hens have been the recipients of all the test apples, as well as the apples that have dropped and apples that have been slightly pecked by birds. The apples are a huge hit with our dozen hens — so much so that they produced a record number of ELEVEN eggs each day for the past three days.

Based on our tastings, Hubby and I had a sweet time harvesting apples this week. We picked enough to fill three, large 5-gallon buckets since we don’t own any bushels.  A bushel is a unit of volume equal to 8 (dry) gallons. Basically that means we picked almost two full bushels, and the apples must weigh over 60 pounds.

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I already peeled and cut up enough apples to make two large crisps. We’ve dug into one, and one’s in the freezer for my father-in-law who’s our next houseguest. What wonderful smells have filled this home!

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Yellow Transparents are known to be excellent applesauce apples, so yesterday we peeled and cut the rest of just the FIRST  5-gallon bucket. So many apples. Son requested jars of cinnamon applesauce to take to college next month, so I got busy cooking.

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More great aromas. The food processor is a huge help in the final purée. I’m filling the shelves in the basement storage room with jars of all kinds of good food.

Today is my hubby’s and my 29th Wedding Anniversary. He is the very best! Add in the fact that this is my 100th gardening post, and we have a pretty great day going. In the spirit of true love, and apples, and the true love of apples, here’s one of my favorite versions of the classic song,  A Bushel and A Peck:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N3p7PKP9lBE

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