Central Virginia Organic Gardener

"And 'tis my faith that every flower enjoys the air it breathes." - William Wordsworth, 1798

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Hippy Apples

     This year we have what I call "hippy apples."  In the 1970's, when some back-to-the-land, counterculture folks (my spiritual ancestors in some ways) began organic gardening and farming, there were fewer organic tools at their disposal to care for fruit trees and carry the fruit through to harvest.  There were many a tale of misshapen, wormy, corky, organic apples during this time, aka "hippy apples."  Now, I am not claiming to have grown excellent and cosmetically perfect apples in my life, but they have been of better quality than this year.  So what happened this year? Rain, rain and more rain. Every time I had the opportunity to spray the trees with Surround (a trademarked, kaolin clay substance that presents a barrier to apples maggots and the like) it was raining or about to rain.  You see, kaolin clay is water-soluble and washes off in the rain.  A light rain has not too much of an effect, but heavy rain, like we had one and off all during the season that the apples were forming.  In addition, wet conditions promote fungal diseases and I could not spray for that either. So, we got the hippy apples pictured above.
     So, do we need to trash them?  Not at all.  These apples still have plenty of tasty, edible flesh and I am pretty darn good at peeling, removing the bad parts and slicing them.  Below are the sliced apples, in our dehydrator, ready for lovely dried apples to eat and bake with all winter long.  By the way, I pre-soak them for 2 minutes in a solution of 4 cups of water, 600 mg crushed vitamin C pills and 1/4 c of lemon juice to prevent browning in the dehydrator.  From yuck to yum!

Happy gardening!

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