Orchard fruits have done horrendously badly this year, with frosts and wind destroying blossom, and rain damaging your fruits. That said, Apples are now upon on us, and whilst Apples are not strictly native (They brought here by the Romans) they do better here than perhaps anywhere else, with over 2100 unique varieties at Brogdale, the National Fruit Collection, alone.
Despite this bounty, with flavours ranging from fizzy sherbet to strawberry to floral to... well apple, most apples sold in our supermarkets are imported, and taste of little than watery sugar or flavourless apple depending on which of the varieties they have chosen. There are notable exceptions, with three cheers in particular for Booths and Waitrose who stock English apples year round. Search out Slow Food Ark Apple Saltcote Pippin, Ashmead’s Kernel (which tastes of pear), Worcester Pearmain or Pitmason Pineapple (Tasting of sherbet)
There is no such thing as a cooking apple – rather some hold their shape better, some cook to a heavenly slush. But what to do with apples beyond crunching to the core? A favourite of mine is to pan fry apple slices in equal parts of salted butter and brown sugar, with a little cream to produce a fudgy caramel sauce.
As to windfalls? A classic apple chutney of a kilo of apples, half each kilo of onions, sugar, currants and half a litre of cider vinegar, with your favourite spices (A good grind of pepper, mace, clove and chilli goes into mine) will liven everything from Sausages to Cheese Sandwiches year round.
Time to get picking!