Apple picking time!

My local orchards are open to the public! Not only was I lucky enough to get some delicious apples but I could pick quetsch damson plums too!

The orchard Les Vergers de Steinsel is open Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 2 pm to pick your own fruit. You can buy boxes there or take your own bags. Take note that the following weekends are the Fête des pommes: 28/29 Sept, 5/6 Oct and 12/13 Oct – which means there are tables set up to have a glass of something refreshing and grab a bite to eat, and they open from 10 am.

The kids can watch them make freshly squeezed apple juice and try to manoeuver the wheelbarrows. But get there early to avoid the crowds and the disappointment of them running out of apple fritters!


It is difficult not to come away without tons of apples (and damsons in my case). Here are a few ideas for using them all up! The obvious choice is desserts:

Damson tart using sweet shortcrust pastry


225g plain flour

110g butter

50g caster sugar

½ tsp salt

1 egg lightly beaten

Damsons stoned and quartered

This pastry is ideal for pies such as apple and damson pie and can be frozen after baking. Make individual ones, freeze them and reheat in oven for a hassle free desert when entertaining.

Other suggestions

– Eve’s pudding with apples and damsons (my favorite, let me know if you want the recipe!)

– Stewed apples and custard –  add leftover stewed apples to your porridge in the morning!

– Baked apples, cored and sprinkled with brown sugar and sultanas.

Great savoury ideas

– Stewed apples with roast pork or grilled pork chops.

– Damson sauce with lamb, pheasant, quail, venison, wild boar…

– Damson chutney.

– Autumn salads – apple and cauliflower with a dressing of jerez vinegar, olive oil and a drizzle of honey.

– Chicken and apple curry.

Recipe for damson sauce

1tbsp olive oil

½ onion peeled and finely sliced

½ apple sliced

85g damsons – halved and stoned

1 tbsp red vine vinegar

2 tbsp soft brown sugar

Still got some fruit left? Any leftover fruit can be prepped for pie fillings and frozen until needed. Apples should be peeled sliced and zapped on microwave for 5 minutes until just soft, let cool then pack in Tupperware containers or plastic freezer bags. And you have a freezer full of healthy fruit ready to use for crumbles, Eve’s pudding pies and tarts.

Get picking!

Text and photos by Alison Korter-Lacki, September 2013

Read more about apple picking and other autumn traditions here.