Each year, before Rosh Hashanah, my family goes apple picking. It’s a special tradition for each of us.
Most of the other families are here to pick a few apples to be dipped in honey. Not us! As my husband likes to say, “we’re hard core.” When we get to the farm stand, we’re here to pick apples.
Maybe you’ve been there: You stand in between the trees that seem to go on and on forever. The apples beckon to you. After only 30 minutes, you probably have enough for Rosh Hashanah. But you’ve only just arrived!
Once upon a time, we had to stop ourselves around this point, or we’d pick more than we could manage before they went bad. As it was, I’d spend days coring the apples and turning them into apple treats for Rosh Hashanah. We’d take a special look for small apples, and give our Rosh Hashanah guests a whole little apple each for the holiday.
Then we got a food dehydrator. Dried apples and apple leathers for everyone! Suddenly, the apples could last forever, and there was really no good reason to stop (or so it seemed). Undaunted, we kept picking.
This year, we picked 50 lbs of apples. Six large bags – perhaps 125 apples altogether. That was September 18. Three weeks, two Jewish holidays, and countless apple things ago.
Called forth by the demand of the apples (“cook me before I become rotten!”), I cooked apple sauce. Apple crisp. Apple pie. Apple leather (which came out a little more like apple sugar). Dried apples. We served apples for Rosh Hashanah. And we still had 2 bags – about 45 apples – left in our refrigerator.
Yesterday I made nine trays of dried apples and an entire pan of baked apples. I am ready to announce: the apples are finished.
And although I was as eager as the rest of my family when we stood in the fields, I have to admit that maybe we overdid it. It reminds me of a story my son enjoys, The Greedy Bee. After a full day of eating pollen in the field, he confesses, “I overslurped!”
Next year, as I’m picking the apples so eagerly in the mid-morning sun, will I remember the pressure and strain of processing those apples? Or will I, instead, remember the joy of picking them and – later, hopefully – eating them?
It’s tricky to tell, isn’t it?
Do you have any similar examples of over-picking? How do you handle the excess food?