Q: My apple tree has been neglected for some time and is a bit of a tangled mess. How do I go about pruning it and getting lots of fruit from it?
A: Come along to one of the Tavy & Tamar Apple Group’s Winter or Summer Pruning Days. An expert will show you how to do the job properly. See Events & Courses for more information.
Q: What about if I want to do grafting, can you help me?
A: Yes, we arrange a grafting event at a local nursery where an expert shows how to do it properly. See Events & Courses for more information.
Q: Every year I get a fair crop of apples from my trees but, apart from eating them all, what else can I do with them?
A: Why not turn your apples into juice? This is an excellent way of using your harvest; you can just use the pressed juice or pasteurise it for storage and use later. The Group has all the equipment to do this and is available, after suitable training, to members only.
Q: Where can I get advice on the best type of apple tree to buy?
A: The Group has several members who would be able to give you advice or direct you to someone who can.
Q: Are all apple types suitable for planting in this area?
A: No. You should consult an apple expert before spending money on a type that would not be as successful as you want.
Q: Does freezing apple juice make it as safe to drink as juice that has been pasteurized, and would it last as long as pasteurized juice once it has been brought back to fridge temperature?
A: Jim Streeton answers this on the Fruit Forum. There are two questions here and the answers are No and No.
If apple juice is pasteurised in an airtight bottle it should contain few if any living organisms and should keep for several years. When opened it will inevitably be exposed to mould and yeast spores which everywhere swirl in the air, and, again inevitably, deterioration will begin. If the juice is kept in the fridge it may be a month, or even more, before anything visible happens. But happen it will, mould may grow on the surface, tendril-like objects may appear in the liquid, fermentation may manifest itself, the viscosity may change and eventually the juice will turn into something akin vinegar. If you drink it in the early stages of its deterioration it will merely taste unpleasant. The test is: if it smells and tastes all right – it almost certainly is all right. Just about the only danger that might pass through pasteurisation is metal contamination. There is a lot of acid in apple juice and for that reason it is best to keep it away from any metal apart from stainless steel.
Apple juice stored in a deep freeze will keep for a very long time; the most fastidious amongst us can detect no deterioration after a year. However, if the juice is allowed to come up to fridge temperature it is likely to start to go off rather more quickly than that which has been pasteurised. Juice that has been frozen straight from the press will have in it yeast spores, and, whilst these are inactivated in the deep-freeze, they are not killed; and even at temperatures as low as 3°C they may come to life again. Thus, after a week or two in the fridge, you may detect signs of fermentation. If drunk, apple juice in a state of active fermentation is said to have a laxative effect. If left alone the juice may turn straight to cider, or it may develop some of the undesirable symptoms described above. It is, of course, just as liable to suffer from metal contamination as pasteurised juice. It has also one additional hazard. If the original apples were allowed to come into contact with manure or other filth, they may have picked up the spores of something really nasty, and, though these spores might survive freezing, it is unlikely they would survive pasteurisation.
But do no worry. Treat your apple juice with a bit of common sense and it will do you nothing but good.
“Food Standards Agency
Patulin is a toxic chemical produced by a number of moulds, such as brown rot in apples, that can grow naturally in and on fruits and some vegetables. Any fruits showing visible areas of mould or rot, either on the outside of the fruit or in the flesh, could contain patulin. Fruit which appear sound are less likely to contain patulin at detectable levels. The last known outbrreak was in 2002 in UK. “ (We will reemphasise this subject on juice training courses BL)