John Chapman was a real live jive guy and it’s true he was considered a bit eccentric if only because of his lifestyle and mode of dress, but if you’ve watched any of the Bushwacking shows a Pot is a handy thing to have and if you wear it on your head you have both a Pot and a Hat.
But Chapman wasn’t wrong about Apples. Easy to grow (though you can wait a bit on first Harvest), hard to kill if there’s enough water. They are tasty, (savory, sweet, or raw), are packed with vitamins and nutrients, and they store well and for a long time. I have to watch how much I eat because they go through me quicker than Prunes.
Chapman didn’t just wander around the woods tossing Appleseeds helter skelter. One of the things he did is he would find clearings or meadows and plant an Orchard, not for anyone in particular but as a lucky find for the Homesteader that claimed the land. However he was frequently invited by local Farmers to set up Orchards for them because Apples are a lucrative Cash Crop.
It wasn’t like they’d ship barrels of Apples, though they did that too. Nah, they used them to make the Moonshine.
There are 2 basic easy products you can make. The first is Hard Cider which is unpasteurized Apple Juice you leave out to rot for a while. Ok, call it Fermentation if you like. If you live in the USA you may never have heard of Hard Cider but it’s wildly popular in the rest of the World and quite delicious. The other thing is Apple Jack.
In the South and Appalachia what goes by the name of Apple Brandy is basically Corn Liquor with some Apples for flavor. In Europe they make genuine Apple Brandy or Calvados which is all Apples and Cask Aged so it’s very nice. The thing about both of these is they’re distilled which is complicated and kind of expensive.
With Apple Jack you take your Hard Cider and freeze it a bit. The watery parts will freeze before the Alcohol and you can pour your concentrated Apple Jack right off the top easy peasy.