Wednesday, March 1, 2017

winter theme

If I ever look back on this Winter,
I think I will remember a season of apples and soup.

 I've gotten fairly good at making soup this winter.
There's never a plan; it's just whatever comes to hand.
It's like Stone Soup, without the villagers.

Organic broth. Lots of vegetables; fresh and from the freezer.
Organic chicken, while my frozen stash lasted.
Perhaps cheese. A splash of cream if I have it.
New this week: organic kamut or farro.



The 2016 drought meant a tough year for apples in my neck of the woods. I wasn't sure the local orchard owner was going to part with any of her Rhode Island Greenings - apparently she and I have similar taste in apples.
I felt lucky to buy a half-peck.

  They were a bit smaller than usual, again due to the drought.
They reminded me of wild fruit. Precious wild fruit.

Della is not a big cat. This is not a big apple.

The apples were stored in the coolest spot on the porch, and I kept my fingers crossed they would "keep" well there. But in November I discovered that the skin on some of the remaining apples was just beginning to get that leathery-loose feeling that says,

"I'm fine, but use me NOW."

I had been enjoying the apples sparingly,
but as soon as there was a risk of wasting even one apple...
the brakes were off.

Plush porcupine eying the state of the apple skin.

There was to be no apple mosaic cake, since the hens weren't laying.
Just apple crisp, which is about the easiest thing in the world.
The first apple crisp was delicious.
The second, ditto.
Until, one day...

there was One Apple Left.

First, I admired it.

Then I painted it's portrait.

Then I went to the grocery store and bought a few organic Granny Smiths to add to the last Rhode Island Greening for a final apple crisp.

It was...okay.
So that was it. "Farewell to apples!" for a while.


It turns out that making an apple crisp every week for a month
is an excellent way to build an addiction.

A week later, I returned to the grocery store for more apples.

Granny Smith.
Not Rhode Island Greening.

And the week after that.
And, well, yes.

Clearly, I need to put some thought into proper storage for apples before next Autumn. Not too cold, not too warm. Safe from varmints. Accessible even in deep snow.
It's tricky, of course.
If it was easy, I'd already be doing it.
But darn it, I'll have to figure something out.

The goal: to have Rhode Island Greenings right into Spring.

And with that in mind, I'll keep filling the soup kettle.
Maybe it will help me think.



  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. Oh doggone it, Liz! I tried to reply to your comment from the stats page and accidentally deleted it! So sorry! Please come back and post again if you have time.

  2. I wuz just saying Granny Smith the best cooking apple. And when I suddenly get a bunch of apples, any kind, I peel, slice and freeze and it works fine. I have no apple storage options.

    1. I have frozen apple slices in the past, but my little chest freezer was packed right to the top this year after I froze all that pumpkin...which is another fine soup ingredient by the way :)

  3. I've only recently discovered how wonderful soup is. I'd never make it; now I make it all the time. And it's hard to go wrong with apple crisp. Your apples looked very yummy!

    1. It is a wonderful thing to come in tired and soaking wet after chores and realize there is soup just waiting, all ready to eat. I thought I might get tired of it after a while, but it hasn't happened yet. It's so easy to add a little something to make it different.

  4. What about "planting" a cooler in the earth? That might allow you to keep some apples a tad longer. I've eaten a lot of apples with cheese and crackers but am out you say, time for more.

    1. The next time I have someone here with a backhoe I might add that to the list - though I'd still have to put a shed over it so I could get to it in the winter. But yes, using the ground as insulation is a good starting-point...there's a reason for all the remains of old root cellars in New England :)

  5. You just made me so HUNGRY!!! Maybe the orchard owner would have some ideas about storage? It sure sounds like you've been eating delicious things this winter. We've started having raw apples on top of some stir fry type meals. Mmm mmm. I love apples.

  6. That soup looks delicious! We ran out of apples ages ago and the ones the store already have that long-storage toughness about them. I miss fresh fruit this time of year.

    1. I'm glad you said that, Carmen - I was afraid pictures of soup might not be very appetizing as I didn't "style" them - just took snapshots when I sat down on the porch to eat!
      Same here about the storebought apples. The last couple of times I bought the Granny Smiths they weren't very good. And when I'm paying two prices for something (the organics are literally almost double) it's disappointing when it's not good quality.

  7. Great soup
    My only tip for soup is to write it down as you go when you create one. I made my best lentil soup last week. I'm now straining my brain to remember it all. A photo of all the ingredients before cooking would be ideal.

    1. This morning I made a note of the soup ingredients for the first time because I used a recipe (well, parts of the recipe) that included a combination of pumpkin, coconut and prunes. If it turns out well - or badly - I want to have a record of it!

  8. Our local orchards suffered this year too, but from early frosts. The farmers picked many of the apples when they were still small, afraid they would perish completely. The apples we have now are small and not as tasty. We grabbed up a bushel of half-price apples a few weeks ago, and I'm still getting through them. I put them in the fridge because they were starting to go too. There's been apple crisp, apple cake, apple pie, apple scones (today) ... not complaining ;)
    My grandfather used to grow Greenings, among several other varieties. I love Northern Spies for apple pies, very tasty, but apparently their thin skins make them difficult to ship as they easily bruise. Don't forget shredded apples in pancakes & muffins too!

    1. I didn't know that about Northern Spies - thanks for mentioning it! This is one of the best things about blogging :)

  9. Lovely photos! Lots of soup here this winter too. I guess for us it's been soup and tea. And lately, eggs since the new hens are laying like crazy women.

    1. I hope to see fresh eggs soon. The days are longer, so maybe my wait will be short :)

  10. Our grocery store has started selling bags of apples that are not of the 'standard' expected by apple snobs and, being that they're substantially cheaper, we buy them often. Today we brought home a bag of Empires. Soup pot is bubbling here as we speak - cream of cauliflower made from some c'flower unearthed in the freezer.


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