A slightly rain split head of San Michele X Red Rock Mammoth F1
At least they can be. Given the organic status of our acreage, all fruit are grown without any sprays. In the case of raspberries (and friends), currants, gooseberries, strawberries, haskaps, grapes, cherries (not that we've had too many yet) and blueberries this means simply harvesting them before something else does and for plums, harvesting slightly underripe to beat the brown rot, but when it comes to apples, creative measures are required.
This year and last, some trees (not the same ones) were ignored by the apple pests and could be stored whole in the cellar. Those that look especially wormy can also be harvested slightly underripe or at least processed right away. The value added activities of peeling, slicing and more are key to getting more apple goodness.
What to do with wormy* apples:
1. If crisp then invest in an apple peeler and corer - they are real time saver - then dehydrate.
Cut away the wormy bits. Some apples that have eaten cores will split in the peeler but for the most part, I find it works though I have less coddling moth here than I did at my last place and more apple maggot. You can see ours at the end of the table in the picture. We call her Suzy. I don't know why but because this implement is named, our kids have developed a real affection for it.
2. Peel (or not if you can get away with it) and cut up to make sauce.
I like to leave lots of red peels to make a lovely pink coloured sauce. After boiling with some sugar and cinnamon, I mash it through a sieve to remove the skins. You can also toss in other fruits. Dehydrating the sieved sauce makes great fruit leather or bake in pastry for tarts.
3. Make and freeze desserts like pie.
4. Make apple butter, chutney or other preserves.
5. or cider - going to get a press soon!
6. Grate with cabbage, add a touch of sugar, salt and mayonnaise to make a yummy coleslaw. Or otherwise use to make dinner
7. Feed to the deer (and then eat deer...)
Last night, we took the above and made number 6 with half the cabbage and a few tart apples - that's the San Michele x Red Rock Mammoth f1 cross heading for the second year in a row(!!) - and used some other apples to make some turnovers for dessert.
Any other great ideas for apple preserving?
Here's a great link on preserving apples from local kitchen blog
*wormy: Obviously there are wormy apples and then there are wormy apples. Some are just too far gone. Destroy by crushing or some other mechanism wormy apples will lower populations of the pest. I get some apple maggot here or at least something that tunnels under the skin in multiple locations but less coddling moth which I used to get in the city. Maybe next year I'll try traps. Also I don't get scab but I do have some sort of core rot that is more of a problem with the pears (and the apples if I don't process fast). Obviously they might be too wormy to rescue which is why I recommend checking on them to find the right balance or ripeness and unworminess.