Sunday, 28 August 2016

Apple Sauce and Wasps

Hello Friends!

Oh, dear, there has been a mishap!  I'm not really sure what happened, but I managed to delete all my photos of the process before I uploaded them ~ sighs ~ so, my friends, only one photo of the ingredients and process today ~ sorry ~ but these things do happen ~~~ as I don't know what happened, I can't say 'lesson learned' can I?

As an aside, do you think we are more protective and precious about storing, and the possible loss, of our photographic memories since the advent of digital images and The Cloud? I make back ups of my back ups, but in the heady, good old days of real film all we had was our set of prints and our negatives and if something happened, well, it happened and they were gone. Today, if I lose a photo I wail and mourn it for days on end ~ we are a peculiar lot, we humans!

I digress.  In the garden there is an apple tree. I do not know the name of the apple, or the number of the dwarf stock upon which it is grafted, but I do know that it produces some of the most delicious rosy red apples worthy of The Wicked Queen's basket in Snow White {which just so happens is my favourite fairy tale}

During Springtime, the tree is a bridal bouquet of purest white blossoms with a delicate tinge of pink, then as the blossoms fall and fade, tiny hard green marbles appear, and slowly, over the Summer months they swell and grow, gradually changing colour as they aspire to the warm and rich candy apple red of the mature fruit.

For those of you who have not read it, I wrote a Haiku {actually, my first and only Haiku to date} about the apple blossom.  Here it is, superimposed on a photograph of the tree ~~~

and here are some images of the tree, the earlier blossoms, and the harvest of the fruits ~~~

Now, I have competition in the garden for my apples, the birds love them, and also the horrible wasps that nest in a neighbour's bird box, and which home in on the fragrant scent and nibble away at the tops, hidden from view, so that very often I pick an otherwise perfect looking apple only to find it is spoiled.  Wearing long sleeves and gloves is a must when picking these apples, as is exercising great caution and care not to be stung by the competition ~~~

Half eaten by the birds, the wasps come in to finish the job

Help yourself, please, do!

This year, however, the apples ripened a lot earlier and I got to them sooner so the damage is minimal compared to other years. Sadly, probably due to the unseasonably cold Spring and Summer, the fruits are not as big as they normally are, nor are they as many.  I am grateful for what I have harvested and now the time for putting the fruits up into storage is here!

Here is this year's harvest ~~~ about 20lbs or so ~~~

I love Apple Sauce, I use it a lot in yogurt or cream; poured over ice cream; on my porridge or muesli; or stirred into red cabbage; stirred in a warm mixed fruit compote for breakfast.  It's a quick and easy way of getting an extra portion of fruit, especially if you lower the sugar, as I do.

With a lot of apples to process each year, about twenty years ago I invested in a gizmo that peels, cores, and slices my apples at the turn of a handle. It has more than paid for itself as the wastage is minimal and it speeds up the process a lot.  Apple Master Peeler available at Lakeland Ltd.

And, yes, I buy my cinnamon in big bags! I really do use a lot of cinnamon in my cooking and baking, and buy it in bulk from Steenbergs.

So, I am making up lots of delicious Apple Sauce for the freezer as there are a lot of slightly under ripe and damaged apples that won't keep and are unfit for eating raw, but with the damage cut away they will be just fine made into delicious apple sauce. Here's what I do ~~~

3 1/2 to 4 lbs of apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
1 cup of brown sugar {you can use white if you prefer}
300 mls of good quality cloudy apple juice, such as Copella
1 tablespoon {or to taste} cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon {or to taste} ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon {or to taste} freshly ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Put all ingredients into a Crock Pot and cook on low for 6 hours, or until your preferred consistency is reached. I like mine chunky, so keep an eye on it after about 4 1/2 hours.  Cool and spoon into freezer containers.

Of course, you can always make it more quickly in a large saucepan, but I find I like it better from the Crock Pot ~ I don't know if it is the stoneware pot or the slow cooking process, but the flavour is deeper and more apple~y.


One thing I love about working in the garden is the company of the extra little helpers, and here is one of my regulars who always pops up for a beak full of juicy bugs and worms ~~~

Until next time ~~~


  1. Beautiful photos as always! Hope your Mum is doing better!......xoxo

  2. They are good looking apples, and lots too. I miss my fruit trees *big sigh*!

    1. When unblemished and ripe they are amazing, fresh and warm off the tree. I'm sure you'll have trees again in your future.

  3. I love seeing your sweet robin, Deb. He's such a cutie and much smaller than our robins.
    Such a shame about the deletion of your photos. It just happens sometimes. Do you still have them on your SD card? I can only guess that they are not. So sorry.
    Even though your apples are smaller this year, your applesauce looks divine. It will taste so good in the cold winter months.
    Enjoy your afternoon! xoxo ♥

    1. No ~~~ I had just, as I thought, uploaded them and wiped the SD card {as you do} before checking. Sigh ~ I know I uploaded them but they disappeared into the ether.
      Not altogether sure the applesauce will make it to Winter! lol

  4. Your apples are so pretty! Homemade applesauce is the best. Will have to try the crackpot method sometime.♡

    1. It's so easy! No accidental scorching of saucepans, easy clean up, and no constant stirring! xo

  5. Your apples do look very good, what a great idea making the apple sauce in the crock pot. Lovely to see your Robin friend, Robins are my favourite garden birds xxx

    1. I think it is because they are so red and pretty that I get competition from the wasps and birds! xo

  6. Now I am hungry for some fresh apples. Will you bring me some? lol

    Lovely photos, as always.

    1. Your wish is my command ~~~ if only I could! Not sure they'd be allowed on the plane, but I can try!

  7. Did you see Gardeners World where Monty Don hung a sort of replica wasps' nest in his greenhouse that he said would deter any wasps from spoiling his fruit? We were wondering if the same sort of thing would work outside amongst our fruit trees as we have the same problem as you with our apples and plums.

    1. Yes, I did. I am not sure it would hold up in our constant winds though, we've averaged 20mph most days this so called Summer! Worth a try, especially as the neighbours have a wasp nest in their garden!!! Strangely, the wasps leave all the other neighbourhood trees alone, only home in on this one.

  8. these wasps look like Yellow Jackets which are a type of hornet We call them meat bees or sweet bees where I grew up

    1. Thank you "Anonymous" ~ You do not say where you live, so I will assume you are American as that is where wasps are called yellow jackets. Google it if you wish.

  9. I love apples. Love them raw, in cider or in desserts. I'm not a big fan of apple pies though. They are the fruit of Autumn.

  10. I love your pictures of the blossom, the apples and your sweet companion. I can easily understand your concerns about keeping them safe.


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