In his play Lady Windemere’s Fan, Oscar Wilde’s character Lord Darlington joked that a cynic was ‘a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing’. This popped into my head today as I cored my 44th apple and I spent the next 112 apples thinking about it. Dem’s a lotta apples.
During the week, I ran into a friend from my early days in Budapest who has since moved back to Ireland. In the quick catch up, lives were summarised and brief synopses traded. I found myself telling them that I’d recently lost an apple tree. They expressed their condolences. We laughed. But I was a little shocked. Since when had my trees become so important?
I was away when himself sent the photo of the damage. Apparently, the tree was too old to withstand recent high winds. Laden with fruit, the beginnings of what would have been a bumper crop, it toppled over, When I came down late last week, I salvaged what I could and set about doing something with the apples. They’d died way before their time, most of them no bigger than a 200 ft coin. I cored what I could, saving the cores to make apple cider vinegar (a first for me – I’ll know how successful I’ve been in about three months). The rest I boiled and simmered for an hour or so before straining the juice. All told, I spent about five hours working on those apples and I might, if I’m lucky, get a litre of decent vinegar and 4 litres of apple juice. An hour per litre. By my reckoning, that’s expensive liquid. I certainly won’t be reserving my place at the local farmers market. And I won’t be looking for a brand name for my produce.
But having already pickled some of my neighbour’s cucumbers, I was in a productive mood. I put in a full day’s work in the kitchen, none of it billable, unfortunately. I’m the only client who will be satisfied. But given the medical benefits of ACV, I might well have taken the first step towards a healthier future. Gotta love this village life. The good life.