Somehow, in this world of climate gone wrong, of wildfires, hurricanes, earthquakes and landslides, some things remain much the same for those of us lucky enough to live where the weather, and thus the growing season, has been only slightly off-kilter. It’s still way too warm for autumn, but some mornings are slightly brisk, and the foliage on the trees is fading from its reds and yellows to brown, while wind blows the dead leaves around and knocks the remaining apples from the trees. Late yellow apples float about on the surface of the pond outside the window and I’ve seen a brilliantly plumaged wood duck pull one to his breast with his beak and peck at the soft flesh in a woodland version of bobbing for apples. On our early morning walk my dog — small, poodle-like, not a hunter — is sent into a frenzy of sniffing at the tracks of deer who come out of the woods to eat the fallen apples that line the roadsides. I usually fill my pockets or a bag brought along for the purpose of gathering the best drops along the way, the biggest, least scabby and bruised fruits I can find. As I write this, the reassuringly familiar scent of applesauce blurbling on a low heat fills the air. We don’t eat a lot of applesauce, but I missed our community cider-pressing this year and can’t bear to waste such bounty. The apples that are taken from the trees and have no bruising are usually saved in the refrigerator or root cellar, but this year, with the garden still producing, we’re using many of them in combination with the late bounty. After a morning trip to the garden yielded an unexpected basket full of late green and red peppers, we decided to make some chutney, which, in addition to the apples and peppers, would use up some of the tomatoes ripening on the windowsill. We don’t eat a lot of Indian food, but spicy chutney is perfect for eating with crackers and cheddar cheese or pouring over a block of cream cheese to be scooped up with pita chips.

T O M A T O - A P P L E   C H U T N E Y

4 skin-on medium tomatoes
5 skin-on medium apples
2 large green peppers
2 large red peppers
6 large onions
4 cups vinegar
4 cups sugar
2 Tbsp. salt
2 tsp. each cinnamon, ground cloves and allspice
12 cup finely chopped candied ginger
Wash tomatoes, apples and peppers, peel onions, and chop them finely. Place in a large, heavy, nonreactive pot, add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer for two hours. Put the mixture into hot, sterilized pint canning jars, leaving head room at the top of the jars. Process for 10 minutes according to standard canning practices.

Beets, carrots, leeks, Brussels sprouts and kale are still growing in the garden, unfrosted. The beets can be combined with windfall apples in this autumnal soup.

A P P L E   B E E T   S O U P

6 cups roasted and peeled beets
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup onions, chopped
3 cups chopped tart apples
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
5 cups apple cider
12 cup sour cream for serving
To roast and peel beets, wrap two or three together in foil and roast at 450° until tender, about 50 to 60 minutes. A paring knife should easily slide in. When beets are cool enough to handle, use a paper towel to rub off the skins. Then heat oil in a large saucepan, add beets and onions and cook until onions soften, about five minutes. Add apples and cook for five more minutes. Add salt, pepper, four cups of the cider and four cups water. Bring soup to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until all vegetables and apples are tender, about 30 minutes. Let cool, then puree small batches of soup in a blender, or with an immersion blender, until smooth, adding remaining cider as necessary to reach desired consistency. Chill until ready to serve, then warm over low heat. Top each serving with a tablespoon of sour cream.

Some of the kale in the garden is getting tough, only good for cooking after being chopped into submission, but young tender leaves keep coming in this warm weather, good for salads when combined with fresh garden carrots, parsley (still going strong) and sweet/tart apples.

K A L E   A N D   A P P L E   S A L A D

Cider Vinaigrette:
2 cloves garlic, chopped
14 cup cider vinegar
3 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. each apple cider, whole-grain mustard and maple syrup
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
10 cups coarsely chopped kale
2 cups sweet-tart apples, cut into matchsticks
3 cups matchstick-cut carrots
1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
To prepare vinaigrette, puree garlic, vinegar, oil, cider, mustard, maple syrup, salt and pepper in a blender or mini food processor until smooth and creamy. For salad, mix kale, apples, carrots and parsley in a large bowl. Drizzle with dressing and toss to coat.