One fresh Sunday at the beginning of November, Chris called me up to help him pick apples. He had discovered two large trees in the backyard of his work, heavy with fruit and no one to put it to use. The sad fate of many an urban fruit tree. But not these.
We were very active pickers, climbing wherever our weight would hold then breaking out the ladder.
We ate as we went – crisp, huge bites. One tree had larger, crisper, tarter apples; the other, smaller, rounder, sweeter.
There was also a chestnut tree.
Our haul, somewhere around 35kg I’d say.
We couldn’t bike back from Frederiksberg to Christianshavn with that load. We took to the metro and gave a few away on the train. Fall is a nice time.
Once back at the lab, the fun got underway. When life gives you a glut, it becomes a creative exercise: how many different versions of apple can we make?
We juiced a bunch for cider and vinegar. The foam that rises to the top is divine – tart, sweet, rich and airy as mousse.
We made applesauce. A big pot of it.
We took the pulp from the juicer, passed it through a tamis to take out all the skins and seeds and tough bits, heated it on the stove and melted in some chocolate.
At Terra Madre, I met Santiago Peralta of Pacari Chocolate from Ecuador. They make some great chocolate and people have noticed – he just won Best Dark Chocolate in the world for his 70% ‘raw’ bar. And it’s pretty incredible stuff.
I ended up at his table a couple times. He kept giving me things to taste. Finally it got to the point where he was rummaging in his cabinet for industry samples. He gave me this huge kilogram block of raw couverture. Perfect for melting into some Danish apple butter.
We roasted all the peels from the sauce apples with oil and salt. Delicious delicious crisps to snack on while we worked.
Speaking of crisp, we made some of that too.
Then there were some smaller apples left. We baked them until soft, then put them in jars to preserve in syrup.
One with juniper wood, the other with malt.
And those last few runts and stragglers? Into 2% brine to ferment.
Our bounty, transformed.
Oh, and we kept some whole for eating of course.
About a week later, the cider was ready for bottling.
I now have some aging at the lab and at home.
I bottled about half and began some vinegars with the rest.
Perfect circumstances for an experiment. Two types of cider (one from the tarter apples, one from the sweeter), with and without juniper wood, for that lovely resinous quality. Next best thing to a barrel. To the cider, about one quarter raw vinegar for the mother, covered with cloth, tied with twine, and left to sit. Will report in a few months.
The sauce provided many nice breakfasts.
As did the choco-butter.
The sweeter, softer apples were already brining up nicely.
The harder, tarter ones needed a little more time.
Eventually, they would find their way into a dish.