"She refused to be bored, chiefly because she wasn't boring." Zelda Fitzgerald

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Fresh Apple

I forget every year just how good an apple tastes. A real apple. An apple that grew near you. An apple picked from an actual tree. An apple that drips juice on your chin and tastes like the rusty leaves, like the nippy wind, like the tart chill in the air.

Ru turning the press wheel.

Apple cider! At least in small quantity.

My boys wild apple picking with Big Grandpa (my dad) last fall.
I no longer buy oranges unless its the dead of winter and I think this year I'm done buying apples unless its fall. Yes, they are edible all year round but they become a bland, pale shadow of themselves, something that gets old so fast its hard to time it. I really love a good apple but every year when it is apple time I have to polish off my enthusiasm and convince myself to go apple picking because a whole year of completely pitiful, mediocre grocery store apples has stolen their thunder. I don't hate regular apples, they're edible I just don't actively like them either and they are so ubiquitous and so overdone that they completely steal the thunder of a real ripe tree fruit.
Wild Michigan apples come in a.....
....beautifully varied palette.

Our homeschool co-op plans field trips most fridays once the weather turns nippy. This week they planned a pint-sized, cider pressing instruction. Pretty darn cute! My little boys were big fans.  I think Ru would like a cider press for our backyard so that he could spend some time every day feeling really important, turning that big crank.

Fallen apples at one of our local orchards.
Red Delicious on the branch!
We don't really buy store-bought juice at our house but we do occasionally indulge in cider in the fall. (Especially if we can find it raw!) Cider feels more authentic to me than most juice. I fondly remember romping around as a little girl at chilly, annual cider pressings with our local congregation and also at least once as a deal split between two families sharing the sweet rewards of all the apple picking and the use of a borrowed press. I grew up in a place where there are wild apple trees on every corner. Getting fresh apples is as simple as harvesting them from an ancient roadside orchard or craggy wild tree down the nearest lane. Most of them simply go to waste although a few are gathered up for deer, bait piles for hunting season and never even tasted by a local human.
Big Grandma and Big Grandpa, my parents with Ru, after a wild apple ramble.
Here in Connecticut they are slightly harder to come by. I know where one wild tree is but mostly we pay money to be let into a cultivated orchard in counties north or east of us. I'm okay with that though, the fruit snaps when bitten and the flavors are nothing, nothing you can buy in May in the corner grocery store. 

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