Abandoned orchard and mountains of apples

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by silvergirl, Aug 24, 2006.

  1. silvergirl

    silvergirl Well-Known Member

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    There is an abandoned orchard near us that has 5000 trees - winesaps, gala, fuji, delicious, granny smiths, you name it, it's there! We have access to do as much picking as we want - I don't know the harvest schedule for different types of apples but I think some varieties can be picked as early as late August. Anyone out there know anything about that?

    Also, there are lots of windfalls now and the trees are very heavy with more apples than any family could process in a week or three - can the green apples be harvested early and used for anything? Are they higher in acid content at this stage and would they make good cider vinegar? Also, does anyone have any information on how to make cider and cider vinegar?

    Any ideas as to processing methods for this large a quantity of apples? Any recipes for jellies, preserves, cordials or applesauces?

    Also, I asked on the goat forum, but it can't hurt to repeat the question here - are green apples harmful to my Sadie-girl? When the apples are ripe for picking, is it possible for her to overeat if I take her to the orchard and tether her while I pick?

    Thanks
    Silvergirl
     
  2. Tamalama

    Tamalama Well-Known Member

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    Congratulations on the "windfall" of apples. Ours are going great guns also, musta been a good year! I made cider from greenish apples two years ago ( i didn't know at the time how to tell ripe from unripe) All I can say is it's really sour, but did work as jelly (I used the recipe off the pectin box). Apple butter can be made in the crock pot (I've been told) I did it on the stove and it took a really long time. This year I am making Chutney (apples, raisins, sugar, H2O, Vinegar and spices), Jelly of course, more apple butter (trying the crockpot thing) and pie filling (like canned ) (I do have to work proportions for that one) Wish I had recipes but I'm a kinda fly by the seat-o-my-pants kinda gal... I look forward to seeing the recipes everyone else has to offer....Cheers!
     

  3. ladycat

    ladycat Chicken Mafioso Staff Member

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    How do some people get so lucky??? :eek:
     
  4. Mallow

    Mallow Well-Known Member

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    We use a 35 gallon copper kettle and a wood fire for our apple butter. Takes a few days of work but invite some neighbors in for a cut.
     
  5. turtlehead

    turtlehead Well-Known Member

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    Congratulations!

    Here's a link to an apple harvest schedule in NY; yours may differ by a few weeks but the order should remain more or less the same. It should at least help you know what to pick first.

    Some apples are better for pies, some are good for applesauce and apple butter, and others (dessert apples) are good for snacking.

    I'd make applesauce, apple pie filling, apple butter, dehydrated apples, and maybe some juice. I'd also try cider and vinegar but just because I want to learn how.

    The Ball Blue Book has a good applesauce recipe in it and a fabulous apple butter recipe in it; let me know if you don't have that book and I'll look them up and post them.

    Carla Emery's book has info on how to make vinegar.

    Here's a basic apple pie filling recipe that I've used with good results. It's Jackie Clay's recipe for Basic Apple Pie Filling, and it's in the Backwoods Home Cooking cook book.

    1 double-crust pie pastry
    6 cups peeled, sliced tart apples
    1 cup sugar (may use 1/2 brown and 1/2 granulated)
    2 Tbsp flour
    1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
    pinch salt
    2 Tbsp butter

    In medium mixing bowl, combine all ingredients, except for butter. Toss well to combine. Pour filling into unbaked pie shell. Spread filling in the bottom crust. You should have enough filling ot heap up in the center; it will cook and become more flat in the baking. Dot in 4 places with butter. Center top crust and seal 2 crusts together. Gently rub margarine over the top crust of pie, then sprinkle a little sugar over it. This makes a crispy, sugary pie crust that people find irresistible. Bake at 350F until the crust is nicely browned, usually about 35 minutes.
     
  6. rwinsouthla

    rwinsouthla Well-Known Member Supporter

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  7. edcopp

    edcopp Well-Known Member

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    What makes you think that the orchard is abandoned? I would think that somebody owns it. :shrug:
     
  8. PyroDon

    PyroDon Well-Known Member

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    Too bad ya dont have a grinder and a big still .
    grind all the bad apples up for alcohols and feed the mash afterwords to the hogs. burn the alcohol in the car and eat the drunk pigs
     
  9. susieM

    susieM Well-Known Member

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    Apples are actually better if picked slightly under-ripe. Applesauce is best made with several different kinds of apples, all mixed together. I make it at night in my crockpot and in the morning the house smells lovely and it's enough to can seven quarts. Find a good canned apple pie filling recipe, you won't be sorry. Get yourself a dehydrator and dry them...Grannies are the best for retaining flavour...just dip them into salt water and dry away. Or shake them in cinnamon sugar and then dry...a mess, but worth every sweet bite. Dry applesauce as leather, try mixing in some yoghurt before drying. Pickled cinnamon apple slices are good, too. Apple jelly. Apple butter...start off in the crockpot. Canned apple quarters. Canned apple juice. Or do as my German uncle does...it's called mosht...let the juice sit til it turns to cider. Apple and quince, or blackberry, or elderberry....
     
  10. goatlady

    goatlady Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I would think green apples would give a goat a stomach ache just like it would humans and too many apples too quickly will give the goat diarrhea.
     
  11. Spinner

    Spinner Well-Known Member

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    I've found a few apple trees around old houses that have burned, but to find a complete orchard, that is one heck of a find! Are you sure it's abandoned? Do you know who owns the land? Have they given you permission to take all you want? I'd get it in writing, just in case any problems arrise later. In fact, I think I'd do some checking to see if I could buy the rights to the trees from the land owner. You could open a "pick your own" business and/or sell apples at a roadside stand, at fruit markets, etc. Your talking about lots of apples & money!
     
  12. Qwispea

    Qwispea Well-Known Member

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    ..what makes you think they care who owns it?
     
  13. 65284

    65284 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Of course someone owns it, just like someone owns the abandoned houses and barns so common in rural areas. The buildings have been abandoned not the land.

    If no one is tending to the trees ie: pruning, spraying, mowing, and most
    importantly harvesting the fruit, I think that qualifies it being abandoned as an active orchard. It becomes an owned property with a lot of apple trees on it.
     
  14. 65284

    65284 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Silvergirl in her post said "We have access to do as much picking as we want". I read that as her being granted permission to pick all she wants.

    She didn't say she could sneak in and steal all of the apples she wanted, didn't imply that she knew a back way to slip into the orchard and snatch apples. Sounded to me like she had permission.
     
  15. edcopp

    edcopp Well-Known Member

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    I don't, but I like to give people the benefit of the doubt. If I owned the land that is holding up the apple trees I would appriciate being asked for the fruit. I might not care if someone had the fruit if I was not going to use it. On the other hand I might get a bit testy if I were to catch someone looting my property.
     
  16. edcopp

    edcopp Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps she will answer and let us know for sure. It seems that to about 50% of the world "access" means it ain't nailed down. To others it might mean I have permission Who knows :shrug:
     
  17. moldy

    moldy Well-Known Member

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    For apple pie filling, check the recipesource website. It is very important to use only Clear-jel (a modified corn starch). It will not break down with extreme heat like regular cornstarch and the recipe is really great.
     
  18. Spinner

    Spinner Well-Known Member

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    I didn't mean to insinuate that silvergirl was considering stealing the apples (sorry if it read that way.) The word "abandoned" gave me the impression that the owner was nowhere to be found, as in moved away & ignoring the property, or deceased and the property may be in probate, or for sale, or something along those lines. There may be someone setting on the sidelines waiting to move in and actively start working with the orchard, or the owner may have no interest at all in it and willingly give someone permission to do whatever they want with it (the trees, not the land). The owner may be holding the land as an investment and be happy to have someone come along and rejuvenate the orchard for the future. silvergirl has information we don’t have. I just wanted to toss out a few thoughts that would go thru my head if I found an abandoned orchard. I’d want to get something in writing giving me permission to harvest the fruit. Then I would use it to the best of my ability to create an income as well as store all the apples I could.
     
  19. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

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    Setting aside all legal issues, in your climate, you may have actually missed the harvest period for a couple of the early varieties such as Yellow Transparent and Lodi, which are both good sauce varieties. What you might want to do is take frequent walks through the orchard, tasting apples and marking where the ripe ones are, and where the best ones are. That will save time next year (if you still have access to the orchard then).

    Mmmm! Wish we could share that orchard with you! Applesauce! Apple butter! Dried apples! Frozen apple slices! Apples in the root cellar! Canned apple chunks! Apple cider! Vinegar! You can do a LOT with a resource like that!

    Kathleen
     
  20. Indrananda

    Indrananda Member

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    As SilverGirlsHubby, let me try to help out with a few things...

    The orchard has an owner. He USED to lease out the land to another local orchard who tended the trees, harvested the apples and sold them on their farm about 10 miles down the road. They have opted NOT to renew the lease, as apples from overseas, other states, etc. are cheaper and they can no longer afford to tend to the land and still make a profit.

    The owner wants nothing to do with tending the land (he's too old) and won't open a pick your own (he's been sued for a hip-replacing-fall before).

    A friend of ours who lives on the property in a rental house has spoken with him about 'what to do with all these apples?' and has been told 'Pick all you want. Bring your friends.' Hence, the invite. At least until he sells it, leases it or it's burned in some horrible, insurance money collecting scheme. (Which happens often enough round here).

    I hope this clears up any confusion.

    We were looking for how to make vinegar out of it and will check Emery's book. Got a copy on loan from a friend recently. Actually just as we were discovering this forum... hmm... Any other suggestions are welcome.

    We'd pretty much figured out that too many apples would be, um, icky, as far as the goat's concerned. We were just hoping it wouldn't be toxic or life threatening in some unknown to us way. I've done the 'green apple quickstep' too often myself... I see no need to do it with something I have to hose off the deck! LOL!

    Thanks guys for the time and ideas,
    Indy -
    SilverGirlsHubby