FIRST APPLE JUICE OF THE HARVEST – FOURTH WEEK OF AUGUST 2009

Harvesting continues throughout the garden. Onions, peas, beans, cabbage, kale and courgettes all need regular picking. The biggest job this week is setting up the apple juicer, retrieving empty bottles from the attic and containers  to keep juice in the freezer for the months ahead.

Someone with a larger kitchen garden would be thinking at this time of preserving and storing many types of fruit and vegetables. Any USA or Canadian kitchen garden website would be more helpful perhaps. The coming winter on a larger landmass brings snow and ice. Unless root vegetables are dug up before the freeze there, they must remain in the ground until the thaw. In Winnipeg, Canada, which has good farmers’ markets, the winter temperature reaches minus 40 centigrade creating one metre thick ice on the Red River.

However juicing is the best way for me not to  waste the crop of apples on my solitary James Grieve apple tree. This variety gives a generous crop of large mottled red and green apples. In July, they are a little bitter but can be used as cookers. By the end of August, they have ripened further as a good dessert apple. However, once picked they are good for about a week after which they deteriorate. I have found over the years that they juice very well and once defrosted they are available until next August and September’s crop is ready for harvesting.

So thank you James Grieve, the Edinburgh apple breeder who crossed a Pott’s Seedling and a Cox’s Orange Pippin in 1893 to create my juicy apple tree. I need to prune this venerable tree back each winter so that there is enough space and light in the garden to grow the other crops, but that is a story for another day.

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