OK, I’ve complained long and hard about the squirrels and magpies eating our apples and wondering what to do about it. I’ve even tried netting the trees and just succeeded in trapping birds. Well, they’ve started cropping now and I don’t know what to do with them all.
The Eater is a Discovery which is a sweet, early, red skinned (and flesh when they’re really ripe) variety. This year they seem earlier than usual (we don’t normally pick any quantity until mid-September) and I have a feeling they are “softer” than usual, probably because of the hot, dry summer we’ve experienced.
We gave the tree a hard prune at the start of the year. Discovery is a “tip-bearer”. This means that the fruit are on the end of the branches which means pruning is slightly more difficult, trimming back the branches as one would normally do for a spur bearer potentially takes off all the fruiting points. However, the tree had got “unruly” and the old adage of making the tree “spacious enough so that a pigeon could fly through” no longer applied. So we chopped it back in the expectation that we wouldn’t have a very large harvest this year. This doesn’t seem to have been the case.
We had a good show of blossom earlier in the year and so far we’ve picked around 11kg with (as you can see from the above pictures) lots more still to come.
The Squirrels are still picking fruit (both off the tree and the ground) and disappearing up the oak tree to consume them (or be chased by another squirrel). Around four a day seems to be the number. Anyway, with the quantity of fruit on the tree, I feel slightly more generous as we’ve got to find ways of using them up.
As well as just eating them (how many apples can you eat in a day?) we cook and dehydrate them. Cooked for evening meals (with cinnamon and perhaps some honey) they make a tasty pudding (even better as a crumble) and dehydrated they’re an alternative to crisps for a snack or sprinkled on the morning cereal we will eventually eat them as they seem to keep quite well through until November or early December.
We’ve the cooker to come. They seem to be smaller than usual this year but plentiful.