Friday, October 4, 2013

Applesauce and Gleaning

You might think that applesauce and gleaning go together, but not this time. They are two separate events. The applesauce made above was finished yesterday. Already one and a half jars have been eaten. I think I need to put up more this year as my daughter can go through a lot of applesauce. Between my husband and myself we go through about 20 pint jars a year. With her added I'm sure 30 would be a good amount to shoot for. I know a lot of you non-applesauce eaters think it might be a lot, but it is just a serving every other week. And unlike some of you we love it just plain as a snack, or a side for lunch.

The gleaning would have been nice if it were apples, but it was greens. I volunteered through the Boston Area Gleaners, who glean produce from farmers and it gets sent to area food banks and shelters. This time it was bok choy and chard. We could have picked as much as we wanted to take home too, but I really don't need more chard or bok choy. Obviously I should have volunteered to glean apples. Apples have been gleaned over the last couple of weeks, but I've been busy those days, so couldn't do it.

And who would have guessed that I was good at it? Our leader was shocked when my first box of bok choy was packed so quickly. Yup I'd make a good migrant farm worker. I can pick, clean off the dead leaves, and pack in no time flat. We needed 10 boxes packed up and I had 2 done and had started on my third when he said we should consolidate our boxes as we had enough. And I could fit them in better than most with no space wasted. We had 45 boxes of chard to pick. I ended up picking 8 of them. Somehow I don't think my back would stand up to the labor for very long though. We only had to be at it for a short time, but a real worker would be doing it all day long.

And it was fun. People quickly learned I knew my veggies and started asking me gardening questions. One person grew paw paws in his yard and brought some for us to try. I had wanted to plant paw paws in my yard here, but they are all a bit too big, no dwarfs and you need two for cross pollination. Now I finally got a chance to try one. It was delicious. I think it is a really under used plant. It doesn't have pests like apple trees do, so is easy to grow. No one really knows about them because they are soft and can't be shipped. So you can't buy them from a store. Sadly there is really no place to put them here.


  1. I want pawpaws, too, but I don't have the room either.

  2. I am making another batch of applesauce this weekend. I think we would easily consume 20 pints between the two of us in a year. We are enjoying it as a snack and I love it swirled in my morning yogurt. I may need to pick more apples. Funny that you are so good at Gleaning. Also nice that your labor is paid by allowing you to take home some too. Hopefully in the future, there will be something different from whats in your garden.

  3. What a wonderful thing to do that you are so good at and to meet new friends and share ideas. We eat a lot of applesauce too and just bought a bushel and a half today so guess what I will be doing! We like the lumpy kind so it takes awhile and I plan to dehydrate some. Nancy

  4. Perhaps surprisngly, we can usually buy Paw-Paws (we call them Papayas) in our supermarkets, and in most "ethnic" stores. They are usually packed in polystyrene to protect them during shipping, which is of course very un-environment-friendly. However, we do buy them occasionally because we love eating them - best on their own with a squeeze of lime.
    Your gleaning efforts sound impressive. We don't do that sort of thing here, but we should. I'm sure a lot of food is wasted when crops are harvested "industrially", especially when done by machine.

    1. Some people do call papayas paw paws, but a paw paw around here is a totally different fruit. It has large seeds spread all through the flesh (like 1 1/2" long seeds). And it is very custardy. Papayas are tropical fruit. Paw paws seem like they are but are hardy here. I think they are native to the middle of the US.

  5. The gleaning sounds like fun. And a great way to get good use from what would be otherwise wasted. I hate to see any food go to waste. Thanks for the tasting report on the pawpaws! We have three young trees planted here, but have never tasted one. Everyone says they are delicious, and now you have added one more good report on them. It is time to make applesauce here. We freeze ours, but go through a lot of it too. It makes a great snack, and so nice to have on hand.

  6. Mark we buy papaya too, but they are not the same as paw paws. Papaya are a tropical fruit and paw paw are native to the United States...they have a pudding type texture.

  7. Paw paws grow wild in Maryland and fruit prolifically. When we lived in DC, you could walk along the C&O Canal (a long, out-of-service canal that connects Washington, DC to Cumberland MD at the Pennsylvania border) and pick paw paws for snacks as you went.

    I tried bringing some home once but they bruised so easily, they were already turning brown and gooey by the time they reached my kitchen.

    Such a good fruit, but it's plain why they never caught on commercially.