With our warm spring and zero late frosts, our fruit trees are doing wonderfully this year! Despite the cherry fiasco, we are anticipating a hefty harvest of apples, apricots and pears this summer and fall...well, as hefty as one might expect from a couple of young trees ;-)
We noticed a little while ago that our apples were looking a little squished. Healthy, yes...but squished too. We've heard and read that you should thin your apples (fruit in general) so it has enough room to breathe and isn't touching its neighbor. Thinning, while a bit sad, allows for the remaining fruit to mature to its best potential (just like thinning seedlings in the garden).
Even knowing all this, Tool Lady and I were both a bit hesitant to just strip our wonderful trees of so much potential fruit! I mean really...we've been babying these trees for along time now and are so excited about every single apple! It just felt wrong thinking about throwing so many apples in the compost! So, I googled and googled and googled, looking for recipes using under ripe apples and came up with a whole lotta nothing! Then, finally, I came across a recipe on Food in Jars that briefly mentions using under ripe apples. Well, I have loved each of Marisa's recipes I've tried so far (and am happily pouring through her new book), so I figured it was worth a shot!
So, we got outside and thinned and thinned and wound up with 4 lbs 6 oz of itty bitty under ripe apples. After rinsing them off and chopping them up, I had 12 cups of apples which is exactly what the Honey Lemon Apple Jam recipe called for! Talk about perfect!
Not only is this jam delicious, but I feel so much better knowing that we were actually able to use every single one of those little apples! I won't pretend that the act of canning is an easy one for me yet, but the joy I feel when I place those pretty little jars on the pantry shelf is priceless :-)
As we continue on this slow path to becoming more connected to our food sources and learning so many skills that have been forgotten, it's the little things (like five pints of delicious jam) that make all the twists and turns worth while!