Fruit of Wisdom
(Don't know why I wrote this in August but haven't posted it till December but there it is. Maybe I need to EAT some of these fruits of wisdom!) Apples! This is the ‘on’ year when they are bountiful. A few weeks ago, I made my becoming famous apple sauce from the fruit of wisdom on my back yard Transparent Apple tree. One of the few trees already here when I moved in. The only plant, it seemed, anyone had ever taken any interest in, pruned and cultivated for a lovely pink umbrella when blossoming, easy for picking when long after flower gives way and grown fruit. I had never heard of Transparent Apples, but my old Betty Crocker Cook Book told me they are best for making sauce and pies. Duly noted. I canned 28 jars when all was said and done. Cinnamon. Light brown sugar. Fresh ginger. Yesterday, I canned 18 jars of Apple Chutney from the Akane Apple tree in my front yard. This tree was a housewarming gift. Bright pinkish red and celery green. Snow white flesh. Tart. Perfect for chutney. Vinegar, brown sugar, onion, raisins, tumeric. And this morning, I took the last (except for the one I always leave on the branch in gratitude) of the Akane apples from the other housewarming gift in my back yard. They will become my Apple Jack Liqueur. Vodka, brandy, sugar, star anise, cinnamon stick. Months to infuse. A year or two to mellow after straining. One night of happy, thirsty friends to consume. What a great sense of accomplishment and respect for nature. No waste. Mine are not the apple trees you see on other lawns, bees low and humming contentedly over rotting fruit. Mine are the carefully watched over; too soon and the only thing ripe is your sour belly, too long and they become fodder for worms and earwigs. Pounce when the time is right, drop all other ‘to do today’ items on your agenda and spend the day with the smell of apples in your nose, the sight of browning skins in your compost, the fan blowing to counteract the heat of all that cooking in Summer. I find I am never happier than when I am in the garden and there is no end to the soothing my soul receives as I process plants in preparation for gustatory goodness. Harvest time delights me. My clippers at the ready in my back pocket. Out comes the ladder to reach those high apples knowing no matter how carefully you pick them, some will fall. The sweet, sure sound, the thick thud of fruit meeting earth. The weight of the crop in my largest bowls, and then some. The anticipation of all those jars containing preserves. A heartfelt tree hug. A taste of summer relished in winter.