In 2009, I heard that cherries were being dumped in the West Coast of Michigan, where I hope to retire, because there were so many that they couldn’t sell them. I had done tours and tastings for Nashoba Winery for a few years between full time jobs and I knew what really good wine sour cherries can make. What a shame! It came to me that the ability to make a decent fruit wine might come in handy in that (completely hypothetical at the moment) day when I retired.
So I bought a box of cider apples for $4 from Bolton Springs Farm in the fall of 2009. After 18 months, and the third racking, it’s clear and smells like apple pie. It tastes like apples, too; although a bit sour. Fermentation uses up the natural sugars. I didn’t have the right tool for racking so I threw away a more than I liked when I moved off the clear wine. I put in an order for some stuff that prevents added sugar from fermenting, a stabilizer. (And the rigid tool that I should have had during racking to control the siphoning process better.) I’ll sweeten it and bottle it shortly.
The first picture is before the first racking. The second and third are from today’s process. I wish it were a bit lighter in color but wouldn’t want to mess around with the flavor.
I’m sure there’s a more elegant name for this simple dish. I created it after watching a friend make Bananas Foster but someone else has probably done this, too. It all needs to be done very quickly so have everything ready in advance. You might even want to have the ice cream in the bowls before you start the frying.
Peel and slice yummy apples (my favorite is Mutsu, like I purchased at Bolton Spring Orchard), enough to cover the bottom of your favorite frying pan. Melt a generous amount of butter and add the apples, stirring until they just start to soften. Add a generous amount of brown sugar. Stir and cook until the sugar carmelizes and the apples are cooked but still have some crunch. Deglaze the pan with a good splash of Calvados or other brandy and serve over the richest, creamiest vanila ice cream you can buy.
I came from the midwest and before I’d visited Massachusetts, knowing the stats on population density, I’d envisioned that the east coast looked a lot like the I-94 corridor around Chicago. I was very wrong. Trees and brush are allowed to grow right up against the historic, meandering roads and public lands like water reservoirs and state forests create natural, untouched green spaces in the most densely populated suburbs of Boston.
My commute, while too long, takes me through miles and miles of farm land, some of it very near to historic places like Walden Pond. Most of it is on a two lane highway, Route 117. In this blog, I’ll feature some of the places that I visit to augment produce from my very small garden.
One of the few seasonal farms that’s still open is Bolton Spring Farm, although probably not much longer this year. They open late in the summer and feature their own orchard products. I had the only realy ripe Mutsu (also called Crispin) this year in a bag that I purchased a couple of weeks ago.
Although they stock a broad variety of vegetables, gift products and home made baked goods, I think what makes them special is the many varieties of local apples that they grow and stock. They clearly mark what’s locally grown. This time of year, they sell Christmas trees and greens, too.