Apples, Flyspeck, Sooty Blotch, and Memories

Apples, Flyspeck, Sooty Blotch, and Memories

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 While I was out of town for my most recent gator hunt, I had the opportunity to spend some time with RidgeRunner’s sister and brother in law who still live back in Kentucky. They were in to spend some time with family, and to hopefully see a giant gator were were hoping to harvest. If you are a regular reader, you know we didn’t score on the gator, but the trip was worthwhile, since I  got to learn a little more about RidgeRunner’s family. And taste some of the wonderful apples from a tree on their property in Kentucky.

The very first thing I noticed was that they were discolored just like the ones Kentucky Apples

we used to grow back in West Virginia. These were red apples with splotches of black, as well as little dots of black, unsightly, dirty looking things….that reminded me of home, and looked marvelous to me. Nothing polished or shiny about these, having been simply picked off the tree.


These were perfect.

If you washed the apples and polished them, the discoloration could be removed with some effort, but we always simply rubbed them a bit on our pants, and ate them, discoloration and all. It never seemed to harm us, and like eating tofu, we never knew any better. And they tasted a LOT better than any tofu ever did.

It turns out that the discoloration is called Sooty blotch and flyspeck. Once thought to be two separate types of fungal disease, it is now believed by some to be two different symptoms of the same fungal strain. And either way, it is completely harmless if you consume it. Unlike tofu (the curd made from soybeans), the jury is still out on if it is healthy or not…Side Note

Plus anything that is as genetically modified as soybeans are (here in the US), I’m not going to eat, at least nowhere near as often as I’d eat an apple.

So I watched RidgeRunner’s sister peel a dozen or so of these wonderful apples, and then, without consulting any recipe, make an apple pie from scratch. Not only did she make it from scratch, at the same time, she also made lunch for everyone in the house, cleaned up several messes, took a phone call, and chatted with me as I watched her work her magic.

The end result was just that – magic. I asked how she did that, and her reply Homemade apple piewas that if I had made as many apple pies as she has over the years, I’d be able to do it just as well. I tasted it later (avoiding the crust as mush as I could, I’m a Paleo eater, remember) It was magnificent! I’d put this up against ANY apple pie ever made. (Damn, now I want another bite! Or 6.)

While I watched her, she told me to help myself to an apple. I picked a large one, heavy for its size, and out of old habit, lightly rubbed it against my shorts. My mouth started to water, thinking about the long lost flavor I was about to enjoy.

And one bite, I was 12 again, back in West Virginia. The clean, crisp flavor took me back to a cool autumn morning, sitting under an apple tree on our property, wondering what the day would bring, not a care in the world. A sharp Old Timer knife in my pocket, a fishing pole next to me, my trusting dog at my side, the world was mine.

Yes, one bite of an apple brought all of that back. Our 93 acre farm had many apples trees on it, scattered all over, with no rhyme or reason to where they were planted. But each produced apples, some great for eating our of hand, others were good for cider, or for making loads of apple butter…. but they were there, and probably still are.

I miss growing apples. I now live so far south that only a very select type of tree will produce apples, and then, not very well. Apple trees require a certain number of “chill days”, and we simply don’t get enough cold down here. The trade off is the ability to grow bananas, pineapples, mangoes, citrus of all kinds, as well as dozens of other odd and exotic fruits that most people have never heard of. I’ll live with that, I have to, my wife won’t leave…

But some days I REALLY miss growing my own apples…

a REAL Apple


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  1. I totally agree about the “taking me back” after tasting some of those apples. It’s amazing who much influence our taste buds have over our mind.

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