Gifts from the Garden: Free Apples, Homegrown Tomatoes, and Acts of Kindness

August 11, 2023

I recently purchased a home. As a divorced mother of two, purchasing this house marked the convergence of hard work, belief in myself, and supportive people in my life. My new California residence includes a handful of aged fruit trees, some of which have stood for over 40 years. They are big and sprawling, and really need to be pruned- but I will wait until the growing season is over. The yard itself is in disarray, and amidst my efforts to clean it up, I’ve uncovered a few treasures in the form of wooden tools and pottery.

One of the fruit trees in the modest backyard is an exceedingly large apple tree. Its branches stretch horizontally, allowing one to feel like they are standing inside the tree. Despite its somewhat unorthodox shape, the tree’s inherent beauty is undeniable, and its productivity is abundant. It’s early August now and it is teeming with green apples. Since my arrival five weeks ago, I’ve been diligently trying to either give them away or compost them. But, due to the amount of fruit, it’s been hard to succeed at either.

Yesterday, I decided to place these surplus apples in a wooden crate in my front yard. I made a paper sign that read: “Free Apples.”

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Gifts from the Garden: Free Apples

I did harbor uncertainty about whether anyone would show interest or even take notice. That made it even more beautiful when my daughter and I opened the door around 6 pm, to find a plate of homegrown tomatoes on a paper plate on the doorstep.

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Gifts from the Garden: Free Apples, Homegrown Tomatoes, and Acts of Kindness”

Admittedly, my initial reaction was one of confusion. I could not comprehend why they were there and who they were from. And then I realized that it was an act of reciprocity from someone who had appreciated the free apples I had offered.

Reflecting on this, I invite you to consider the equivalent of “apples” in your own life–what can you readily give away? Likewise, consider the concept of “tomatoes”–the unexpected and generous offerings. Perhaps this week, you could embark on a similar endeavor. It need not be centered around giving things for free; rather, it’s about identifying what you can contribute. I’m eager to hear your thoughts on this. As summer graces us with its presence (and for not that much longer), it’s an opportune time to engage in acts of warmth, consideration, and the extraordinary.

As a gesture to all of you reading this, I’d like to share my Ayurveda applesauce recipe. This simple method offers a delightful and easy way to prepare and savor apples. This versatile recipe can be paired with ice cream, oatmeal, served as a meat accompaniment like pork, or even substituted for jam. Its delightful taste also makes it a fantastic dessert option.

Apples are Kapha balancing- the Kapha part of us is when we are feeling slow, sluggish, have extra weight or are a bit disinterested in things. Applesauce, which is light, fresh, not too sweet and looks attractive on the plate, lightens the load and balances Kapha.

For this recipe, you don’t necessarily need to add sweetener. I like to add figs, cherries, or apricots to add sweetness when the apples are a bit sour. This also adds balance for Vata and Pitta.


Step 1: 4 cups sliced apples, peeled or unpeeled

Step 2: 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon. If you love cinnamon, add more; pinch of ground ginger (or fresh); pinch of nutmeg

Place the apples and spices in a pan with ½ inch of water. Cover and simmer until soft. About 15-20 minutes.

* If adding the other fruit for sweetness, add to pot after 10 minutes

Mash with a fork or put in a blender when all is cooked.

** For added sweetness, let applesauce cool to room temperature and stir in honey

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Gifts from the Garden: Apples!

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