This time last year the apples had all been picked, crated and lorried away for juicing. This year's much improved harvest is still on the trees, still plumping from the alternate attention of rain showers and sunshine. But not for long. The Cox's Orange Pippins are mostly ripe already: the proof lies in the few windfalls.
|the weight of apples|
But the majority of its companions are still shy of their full potential.
The BBC's gardening website says:
To determine if the fruit is ready to be picked, place a cupped hand under the fruit, lift and gently twist. If the apple doesn't come away easily in your hand, then it's not ready to harvest.
|the resistible and the irresistible apple|
Hungry Writing Prompt
Write about something irresistible.
And because cupping, lifting and twisting apples is a bit of an addictive pastime I ended up looking like this:
|a scrumper's pockets|
I don't know which came first: scrumping (stealing apples) or scrumpy (traditionally, West Country Cider). The Oxford English Dictionary quotes the noun scrump as meaning something withered or dried up, specifically apples. If this is true then perhaps the drink came first: the gathering and pressing of windfalls into cider. Collins list it as a verb, to steal, from the dialect 'scrimp', but not in the sense of penny-pinching or frugality.
Perhaps no-one will deny there's an excitement attached to stolen or forbidden fruit (forgetting for a while the act of getting caught and the price of Eve's bold disobedience!) A strawberry picked from the field somehow tastes sweeter than the one bought at a stall or from a supermarket shelf. There's a cheeky rebelliousness attached to stealing a few apples and, let's be honest, it's quite a thrill to feel that as an adult penned inside a regimented world.
I don't think my six Cox's Orange Pippins will impinge on the juice maker's profit margin. Or the two Bramleys I'm about to slip out for. And I promise I won't take any more. I've had my cheeky rebellious fix and from now on I'll restrict myself to the windfalls, the withered, the worm-caught, with enough sweet flesh still left on them to be good pickings.
I need the Bramleys to make this apple tart which has puree as a base layer and sliced eating apples as a top layer.
|double apple tart - ready for the oven|