What better treat to sweeten up a Grumpy Old Dude like me, than some lovely Crab-Apple jelly?
As an occasional treat, on nights that I post a blog, I have come to like a couple of Costco croissants, warmed in the toaster-oven, with crab-apple jelly and a mug of hot chocolate.
Several times in the course of our marriage, I have helped the wife make a batch of crab-apple jelly. She initiates it, organises it, and gives directions, while I do most of the donkey-work, since I am so admirably qualified. With a little luck, and some greed, I often get all or most of a batch. It’s okay. The wife prefers strawberry or red currant. With some self-control and rationing, a batch lasts me several years
Crab-apple jelly is almost impossible to find in a grocery store, and when you do, it’s three or four times as expensive, because of shortage of crab-apples, and extra labor. Near where the daughter once lived was a Mennonite church. On the boulevard of the side street, they had planted four crab-apple trees. At harvest time I just went over and picked enough. A couple of years later I returned, to find that the city had widened the street, and destroyed the trees.
The home the daughter moved to, backs onto a community trail. A block away, one house whose property also edged the trail, didn’t have a back fence – but they did have a crab-apple tree. The owner graciously allowed me to harvest all I wanted – because then, he didn’t have to pick them all up. A couple of years later I returned…. to find that the Region had widened and paved the trail, and removed the tree.
An occasional Mennonite at the Farmers’ Market MIGHT have a few six-quart baskets of crab-apples, if you get there at the right time, (I only had four baskets, and I sold the last one an hour ago.) but I might as well be paying for black truffles. Two women offer jams and jellies of many flavors. The wife bought a jar of red currant – which included some of the little twigs that the currants grow on. I passed on their apple jelly.
Another man also offered a wide variety, including crab-apple jelly – at a merely outrageous price. Real crab-apple jelly should be so clear, that you could read a newspaper through its red/gold beauty. This stuff was more apple sludge, full of unfiltered apple fiber.
This is the cost of old age – having to live in the big city, close to all the medical support. I’ll bet if I lived in my small home-town, I’d know someone with a crab-apple tree or two. How about you?? Do you have a particular treat that you like? Is it readily available?
Almost 20 years ago, when we first moved in, at the back of my property were a spruce tree, and a lilac bush, for added privacy and noise attenuation. Back then they were barely as tall as the six-foot sound-berm. Now they both tower 15/20 feet.
This summer, I was mowing the lawn, and stopped to catch my breath and look at the lilac…. and I lost my breath again. There were crab-apples growing on my lilac. WTF!! Close inspection (the lawn can wait) showed that two of the lilac’s trunks (?) were actually a crab-apple tree. This is the first year that it has produced fruit, so I’d never previously noticed that the two were intertwined.
How did it get there?? A squirrel burying an apple?? Some idiot in the neighborhood puts out peanuts for them. We find peanuts buried in our planters and flower beds – along with dead flowers from the digging.
I’ll be discussing Theology with Saint Peter before this tree matures. There are only half a dozen bunches of apples this year. I couldn’t get six quarts/liters. I will do well to get six cups this fall, but the wife says that she/we can make a mini-batch of one or two jars for me. I’ll still be grumpy – just better fed. 😀 😎