Journal etc.: October, Traditions

Journal etc.: October, Traditions

By Chloë Stewart

Journal etc.: October, Traditions

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Fighting food waste, living 'sustainably', buying in bulk.  These are not new traditions.  This 'way of life' has been around since time began; for obvious reasons, you just couldn't afford to waste, anything.  While it is exciting to look towards the future, the design and technological advances that await, it is important to look back, too.  Tradition has a place in our modern lives, particularly in food.  We can look back on traditions to guide us towards a more sustainable life.

There is a comfort we find in the repetition of traditions, whether it was something we inherited, or something we started.  Traditions have the extraordinary ability to transcend generations.  Naturally, at nibs etc. we're big on food traditions.  Maybe it's going apple picking with your friends every year, going to your favourite pub for their world renowned first brew of hot cider.  Or it's a pudding you make every October, every year.

A  I S  F O R  A P P L E S 

Autumn isn't just the season for crunchy golden leaves and plump pumpkins.  It is also prime-time for apples.  These crunchy delicious fruits are found in your local supermarket all year-round as they have three harvests through the course of the year: early-season harvest, mid-season harvest and a late-season harvest.  Autumn is the time for the late-season apples which are known being the best "keepers" meaning they can be kept at low temperatures and last thought the winter to the spring.  Who doesn't want these delicious crunchy fruits to last through the nippy winter months.

W H Y :
Traditionally, the period around Halloween was one that would often mark the beginning of the long cold winter; only to be survived by the storing and preserving of what's left of the summer and early autumn glut. 

Pomona is the Roman goddess of fruit, trees, specifically orchard fruit.  Interestingly, 'Pomme' is french, for apple.  Historically she was celebrated on November 1st, and is probably why toffee apples and apple-bobbing is practiced in today's Halloween celebrations. 

W H O :
Wondering which variety is the best of the bunch to store?  Late-ripening varieties (those harvested in October) usually do best. These include (but not limited to) Newton Pippin, Red Delicious, Gold Rush, Fuji, Brown Russet, Ida Red, Winesap, Crispin, Stayman, Rome, Northern Spy, Braeburn, and Turley.

W H A T :

To look for - always check for imperfect ones first.  Use those with bruising or cuts for compotes or in bakes (no need for waste!) 
sort apples by variety (some ripen faster than others) and by size

W H E R E :

> Store in boxes or baskets.
> To maximize storage life wrap each one in newspaper so if one goes bad the newspaper prevents it from spoiling others.
> Preferably stored in a single layer with slight space between each apple
> Store in a cool place: basement, garage or shed 
- check regularly for spoiled fruit, 
don’t store them near other veg or fruit as they release ethylene gas, which can speed the decay of neighboring produce.
> Use large ones first as they tend to ripen before smaller ones

H O W :
Needing a little inspiration to use up any bruised or damaged apples? 
Why not a Hot Cross Apple Crumble by Love Food Hate Waste.
Or an Apple Compote to accompany your morning porridge, by River Cottage.
And the family favourite, Pork and Apple Casserole, via BBC Good Food.


All photography by Louise Long.