Monday, August 16, 2010

Harvest Monday -
Putting the worm back in the apple

Really Eve? I can only presume that the garden of Eden had not the pests of modern apples. These fruit don't scream out 'Tempting!' Plums plucked before brown rot took over, and windfall apples.

Organic gardening has improved the health of our water, soil and air. Limiting death-icides and encouraging diversity has allowed the ecosystem to regain its natural balance. It means that you can plunge your fingers into the wormy, gruby, fungal filled soil without concern for toxic residue though perhaps you might grab something squishy. It also means that very probably your apples don't resemble those you see in the grocery store.

Geneva crab apple cut in half - a good deal more tempting looking.

Apples are beloved fruit by not only ourselves but by a host of other organisms - get it, host! Anyhow, many a wormy, mishapen apple falls from my two completely unsprayed trees. One is a traditional Macintosh that I bought before I knew about disease resistant varieties and the other is a Liberty. Both get coddling moth. I don't worry overly about this because I have other things on my mind but when harvest comes around I pick half from the ground and the other half tenaciously clinging still to the tree. All have cores bored brown by a light pink grub. Isn't it cute?

The rosebud pink larva of a coddling moth coaxed out of its apple core home.

The explosion in the earwig population this year meant that many of my windfalls no longer contained their wormy resident but did have several spike tailed substitutes. Had the coddling moths already crawled off or were they consumed?

"Windfall: A sudden, unexpected piece of good fortune or personal gain"

When given wormy apples, there is only one thing to do: make sauce (or fruit leather or cider). The plums which made it past June drop (courtesy of plum curculio) and not yet hit by brown rot (new this year!), were added with the bits of apple that were unblemished.

"What do you think sis? Is it edible?" Plum-apple pops and yes, they were yummy!


Disease resistant apple varities
Organic Control of Coddling Moth by Green Harvest
Info on Coddling Moth by City Fruit


meemsnyc said...

Oh bummer! Sorry to hear that the apples were plagued with worms. Yikes! The plums look amazing! How large is the plum tree? Those pops look good. Will you be posting a recipe?

Ottawa Gardener said...

I expect the worms and am glad that I haven't seen apple maggot. Then I'd have to break out the 'fruit footies' to wrap them. Otherwise, I just bite around it.

The recipe really is simple. Just cut good parts into pot, add some water and something sweet to taste. Cook slowly until a thick sauce, strain skins and freeze.

Kelly said...

Oh boy. Too many bugs for my liking. I only have one apple on my trees this year, but I plan on using some chemicals in the coming years, mostly the kaolin clay stuff, I forget the name. It will hopefully leave a film on the fruit that throws off the moths etc. when sprayed a few times a year.

Your girls are adorable, and seem to be enjoying the plum pops despite the troubles in the garden. :)

Shawn Ann said...

nice pops! I am sure my kids would love them too...if we had fruit trees! I think the worms would drive me nuts though!

Daphne Gould said...

I'm going to be planting apple trees here, but I'm going to use the nylon protectors on them. We have way too many apple maggots around here. I don't know what pests my peaches will have yet so I clue if I will need to do this for them too.

thyme2garden said...

You're much braver than I am for being able to eat an apple around the worms! That picture of Geneva crab apple cut in half looks really beautiful - I had no idea there were apples with red/pink flesh like that! Your girls are such cuties, and very lucky to have a mom who makes fresh fruit pops!

kitsapFG said...

It seems like you found a good solution to make use of the apples despite the worm invasion. Those pops look alot more tempting then the apples themselves!

Stefaneener said...

Yep, apples are a real challenge. And the brown rot his us so hard this year. Just didn't feel fair, but what is? Anyhow, that's a pretty good save there at the end.

Angela said...

Your wormy apples look great to me. Mine do not have worms but have scrub jays, a much worse situation. The fruit is still to sour for my taste so I may not get a single apple at the rate they are attacking the tree.

michelle said...

At first glance the apples and plums look great, they're so colorful. I love the pink fleshed crab apple. Good for you that you use the fruit in spite of the unwanted guests.