Edible Berkshires

They Shoot Apple Foragers, Don’t they?

Old trees keep giving, if we dare to receive

picking apples

Apple trees line the back roads that wind through the hills of my rural New England town. These are old trees. No sprays or fertilizers or pruning help them along, and the fruit they produce is just what it is. Gnarled, scabby and wormy, these apples bear no resemblance to the unblemished supermarket specimens that fill bag after plastic bag in identical perfection.

I love these old varieties. Even their names move me: Ashmead’s Kernal, Spartan, Pippins, Roxbury Russet, Winesap, Gravenstein— you won’t find many of these alongside the ubiquitous Red Delicious. Each had a place in an early homestead. Some were excellent keepers; others better for cider. Some ripened early while others hung on the branch until after a late frost.

The flavors of old apples are complicated. You have to think about what you’re eating. Is that a hint … Read the rest


  • 1 (2-inch) stick of cinnamon
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 12 peppercorns
  • 3 onions, peeled and chopped
  • 3 pounds of apples, peeled and chopped
  • 5 cups brown sugar
  • 2 cups raisins
  • 2 inches ginger, grated and peeled
  • 3 cups cider vinegar
  • 1 cup brandy
  • 1 cup apple juice or cider
  • 12 allspice berries

Make a spice bag for the cinnamon, cloves and peppercorns. Add that to the apples and onions. Make sure the apple and onion pieces are cut large enough to give the sauce some body. Add everything else to the pot and simmer gently until the flavors meld and the sauce thickens. This will take at least an hour. Remove the spice bag and test for flavor. Believe it or not, topping a bowl of vanilla ice cream with the sauce is a good way to judge flavor. Follow the directions for canning jelly in your Ball Blue Book and … Read the rest


Butternut Squash Soupfrom The Great Barrington Bagel Company & Deli

Makes 12 hearty servings

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 large yellow onions, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 2 large Butternut squash
  • 4 Granny Smith apples
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch of thyme
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups apple juice

Heat the butter, olive oil, onions and curry powder in a large stockpot over a low flame, uncovered, until the onions are tender— about 20 minutes.

Stir occasionally, making sure the onions do not stick to the bottom of the pot.

Peel the squash, slice in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Chop into chunks. Peel and core the apples. Chop into chunks also.

Add the squash, apples, salt, pepper, thyme and water to the pot. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low and cook for approximately 35–45 minutes, until the … Read the rest


 Cider Maiden's Blush6 ounces Carr’s Sparkling Dry Cider, chilled

1½ ounces Berkshire Mountain Distiller’s Greylock Gin

½ ounce Bug Hill Farm Raspberry Shrub or substitute ½ ounce Chambord

Sprig of fresh mint, bruised or coarsely chopped

Fresh raspberry, to garnish

Combine gin, raspberry shrub, and ice in a shaker. Shake well and strain into a chilled cocktail glass, then add sparkling cider. Stir in mint and garnish with fresh raspberry on rim.

Carr’s Cider and Greylock Gin, available at Domaney’s in Great Barrington and Kelly’s in Dalton.

Bug Hill Farm Raspberry Shrub is available at the G.B. Farmers Market and on their website, bughillfarm.org

Drink Responsibly!

Photo courtesy of Carr’s Ciderhouse