Living Wealthy for awhile

By RUTH PATCHETT rpweib1@gmail.com
Posted 9/9/19

Have many readers have heard the expression of someone living up to their name?

The amazing apple tree in our yard has lived up to its name this year and many people have been blessed as a …

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Living Wealthy for awhile

Posted

Have many readers have heard the expression of someone living up to their name?

The amazing apple tree in our yard has lived up to its name this year and many people have been blessed as a result. It is a Wealthy variety, and I can’t recall it ever being so wealthy with apples. People joke how one zucchini plant can feed a third world country, our apple tree could have done the same.

A Wealthy apple is an American cultivar and was first grown by Peter Gideon in 1868. He named it after his wife, Wealthy Hull. After settling in Minesota, Gideon discovered only crab apples grew there. He devoted years of trial and error with other apple varieties until creating an apple that can tolerate and thrive in the Minnesota climate.

The long bloom period of a Wealthy makes it a great pollinator for other apple trees. It is suitable for growing in most of the continental United States, except for really warm climates and along the far western coastal areas.

Supposedly, it was one of the five most popular apples grown in the beginning of the early 20th century. This tree often bears fruit the first year and is especially good for making pies, sauces and juices.

In the spring, our tree was loaded with gorgeous blossoms. Tom no longer raises honeybees and believed it was safe to spray the tree with a chemical that was supposed to reduce the number of apples setting on. I think it had the opposite result, as I have never given away more apples from this tree than this year.

First I made jars and jars of applesauce for our grandchildren. I canned it without any sugar or cinnamon, just pure applesauce. My four-year-old granddaughter likes to make her own version of a fruit smoothie. She uses applesauce, a ripe peach, banana and blueberries all smashed together with yogurt. Is there a name for a fruit lover? Annie is not a vegetarian but more a fruitarian.

So who else received the wealth from our wealthy tree? First I gave a large box of apples to a couple that wanted to make applesauce for some friends. Another large box went to a dear friend of mine who enjoys cooking with her granddaughter. Her granddaughter thought it was lots of fun and is such a polite girl I received the loveliest note and thank you from her.

I also gave three, five-gallon buckets to someone else for applesauce making. When I went to a family reunion I brought a large baking dish of fried apples and six bags of apples to pass out for anyone wishing to make their own version of fried apples later.

Still, the tree was not finished. Part of the fun I had was taking a bag of apples with me when I went on visits to friends and neighbors and making fried apples while visiting. They provided the butter, sugar and cinnamon along with a skillet and I brought the apples and fixed the dish while visiting. It was so easy and fun to do.

For those people not home or wanting to make their own apple dishes, I gave out six bags to various friends and made two more batches of fried apples to bring to more friends.

Was I done with the apples? No. I called my friend Ulla one Saturday morning and asked her come over and we made applesauce together. She had not done this before and loved it.

Ulla is health oriented and loved the idea of it being all fresh with no preservatives. We had a great time making and freezing bags of applesauce together. Ulla is from Germany and shared pictures with her parents who live there so they could share the story and pictures of her making applesauce.

Every couple of days I told Tom I was done with the apples but the tree did not listen, and I can’t stand to see things go to waste. I decided it was time to put apples in the freezer for apple cake with penuche icing.

The cake calls for four cups of finely chopped apples. Tom chopped 20 cups as we decided we needed to test out the recipe again to make sure it was as delicious as we remembered. Four bags of four cups each went in the freezer and the last four cups made one apple cake that was difficult to resist.

Normally, I only use Granny Smith or yellow delicious for my apple pies but I decided to put up a couple of bags of apples from the wealthy tree this year and so those are in the freezer as well.

Is the tree done? For me, it finally is. I am passing the next ones on to my friendly squirrels. Hope the squirrels enjoy some of the wealth as much as I have.