My mother has a wonderful old crabapple tree with fruit that is good to eat. Unfortunately for her, the black bear that lives in the canyon behind her house thinks so too; every fall, it comes down to eat the fruit and breaks the branches, pruning the tree in ways my mother doesn't appreciate. So this morning, on an overcast day that discourages the hornets, we went to pick the crabapples before the bear gets to them. The greenest fruit is yellow-green at the bottom, shading to a apple-red at the top. Riper fruit is the color of a ripe peach, golden with a rose blush; riper yet, they are a deep red, with only a trace of gold showing. But the ripest crabapples are a deep crimson, a red so deep it is nearly purple, and they glow among the green leaves.
Today we picked enough crabapples to add to the tubs of apples we will take to Rocky Creek Farm tomorrow to be pressed into cider, to make it tart; we'll put the cider in the freezer and enjoy it all winter. And we'll make some of it into hard cider, which tastes wonderful with fall dinners. My kids are trying to convince me to make crabapple jelly (which I foolishly mentioned when I saw the golden-rose fruit that reminds me of it) with a later, larger batch; we'll see if they pick enough, and if I have enough energy to tackle the long process.