LAKE MACBRIDE— Father taught me to eat apples after a trip on River Drive to buy a bushel.
It seemed unusual to secure so many at once, but he knew someone, and with a limited weekly income from the meat packing plant, the family took what help he could find.
Dad used a knife to cut away bad spots and avoid eating worms. I remember him rocking in a chair eating apples with a paring knife after dinner. He didn’t call them “knife apples.” I coined that term when describing the fruit from our trees.
My apple trees don’t get sprayed. Not now, not ever. The fruit is not certifiably organic, but no fertilizers or pesticides have been used, and because of that, the apples are not perfect. To eat one raw, I recommend using a knife to cut them open and see what is inside. Mostly what is found is delicious.
Apples keep only for so long. The crisp, white flesh of the Red Delicious apple is the best eating when freshly picked and still cool from the evening air. Patience taught me to wait to pick them until they are well ripened. The large globes come in all at once with a few picking sessions, and then there is an issue of what to do with them. This year the plan is juice, baked goods, and out of hand eating.
Not many are willing to risk eating an apple worm or use a knife when so many varieties are available for out of hand eating with less imperfections. We found a few takers for mine, but a warm apple crisp is often more welcome than the raw materials to make one. The next couple of weeks will be processing and more processing. Damaged windfalls and cutting remains will all get composted.
My work at the orchard will wrap up this month, and with our harvest, I won’t buy apples again until the Winesap and Gold Rush come in at the end of the season. My developing apple culture is just one more way to cope with a turbulent world and contribute to our household’s food security.