October 04, 2015

Fruits of the forest

We headed south today, to Farthing Downs, to enjoy the lovely autumn weather. We walked down off the high ground into Devilsden Wood, which shimmers with bluebells in spring. It's mostly made up of ash, oak, hazel, beech, yew and hawthorn, but at this time of year falls of small yellow-green fruits give away the locations of several apple trees deep in the tangled old growth on the hill's chalk flank.

Most were crabapples, too small and tart to be of much culinary use apart from making pectin; one old tree, though, had dropped a treasure trove of plum-sized golden fruits all over the forest ride. They were tart, but not overly so; like little cooking apples rather than the overwhelming sourness of a crab apple. We couldn't help but stop and gather some up:

Ant filled both the bellows pockets of his shorts and walked on with them bulging like panniers. Back at home we found we had enough apples to fill a whole biscuit-tin.

Ant washed them and chopped them up, looked up a recipe, added sugar and butter and made some sweet shortcrust pastry. This evening we ate the most delicious, and unexpected, apple pie.

Apple Day is on October 21. Read more about it here.