This year appears to be a bumper one for apples in the county.  For once there was no frost at blossom time and the fruit has benefited from the copious amounts of sunshine we’ve had.  However, a bumper crop means having to deal with a glut of apples of all types.

If you have a cooking variety that you know keeps reasonably well (e.g. Bramley, Newton Wonder, Lord Derby, Lanes Prince Albert, Annie Elizabeth and others) you can try storing some for use over the winter. Make sure you use apples that have been picked, rather than those that fell off the tree and select the very best ones: large and unblemished. You can store them by wrapping them in a bit of tissue or newspaper and put them in single layers in boxes or trays. If you store them in a cool place like a frost-free garden shed you might still be using your own apples at Easter! You can do the same with desert varieties too.

Once you’ve stored apples, eaten your fill, made apple chutney, jellies, cakes and stewed apple for the freezer, there are a couple of initiatives in the county which will happily take your surplus apples to make juice.

Our very own Durham Food Hub has teamed up with Jenny of Dalton Moor Farm near Murton.  You can help reduce the waste of perfectly good apples and develop a small local enterprise to create more County Durham apple juice to be sold locally in cafes, restaurants, hotels, B&B’s & self-catering accommodation as well as independent stores.

There are food produce cartons available for you – simply collect your excess apples and contact either:

  • Jenny Connor at Dalton Moor Farm on 07887 551643 for access to the cartons or drop them off; or,
  • if you live near Lanchester, then contact Keith Gill on 01207 528420 for access to cartons and further information to drop them off at ‘The Old Post Office’ in Lanchester.

These will then be collected and 20p/kilo will be paid to you or a food charity.

Fruitful Durham, the well-established Community Interest Company based at the Ushaw College Walled Garden is running short of apples for their juicing and would welcome you donations. They are pressing several times a week and plan to keep going for several weeks. Apples need to be dropped off at the back of Ushaw (DH7 9RH). Come around the back of the buildings onto College Road. You can contact Rachel or Julian via the Fruitful Durham Facebook page or find more information in their newsletter.