The Winchendon Courier
Serving the community since 1878 ~ A By Light Unseen Media publication
Week of October 26 to November 2, 2023


Enjoy Apples Now and For Months to Come

Apples stored for the winter
A temperature between 32 and 39 degrees with 95% humidity is the ideal storage condition for mature, firm, blemish-free apples..
Photo courtesy of

We've all heard an apple a day keeps the doctor away. But did you know an apple before grocery shopping means you will buy more fruits and vegetables?

Researchers at Cornell University found that people who ate a healthy snack before grocery shopping purchased 25 to 28% more produce than those who ate a cookie or nothing at all before heading to the store.

Take advantage of apple season to incorporate this healthy habit into your lifestyle. Have an apple or other healthy snack before your next trip to the grocery store. Your healthier mindset will have you filling your cart with more fruits and vegetables.

Then tantalize your taste buds by trying some new-to-you apple varieties. You'll find a wide variety at farmer's markets, orchards, and retailers this time of year. Many offer samples and provide recipes and recommendations for the best snacking, baking, and processing varieties. Or buy a collection of apples and conduct your own taste test.

Extend your enjoyment with proper storage. Use bruised, cut, or damaged fruit as soon as possible and only store apples that are firm and blemish-free.

Mature apples store best in temperatures between 32 and 39 degrees with 95% humidity. Providing ideal storage conditions is not always possible. Maximize their storage life by placing apples in perforated plastic bags in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. The plastic bag helps increase the humidity around the fruit while allowing air to flow through the holes.

If refrigerator space is limited, consider preserving some of the apples. Make them into sauce or apple pie filling for canning. Peel, chop, cook and dry apples into fruit leathers for snacking. Make and freeze apple pies for a quick and easy dessert to simply bake and serve when needed.

Then add some fun by converting a few apples into apple heads. This native American tradition was picked up by the settlers and is now a part of American folk art. All you need are a couple of apples, 1/2 cup lemon juice, 2 Tablespoons salt, a bowl of water, a pencil, and a knife.

Mix salt and lemon juice in a bowl of water and set aside. Peel the apple and core it, if you want to place it on a stick or prefer a long droopy face. Draw the outline of the face then carve the features into the apple.

Soak the carved apple in the bowl of salty lemon water for about ten minutes. Set on a cooling rack or hang the apples in a warm place to dry. Apples are ready when spongy or leathery to the touch.

Add a few details to the apple head by inserting beads for the eyes and rice for the teeth. Use it as a head for a doll or place it on a stick and add it to your Halloween decorations.

Take advantage of apple season to find new ways to include apples in your diet. You'll enjoy the diversity of flavors and many uses this healthful fruit provides.

Melinda Myers has written more than 20 gardening books, including The Midwest Gardener's Handbook, 2nd Edition and Small Space Gardening. She hosts The Great Courses "How to Grow Anything" DVD series and the nationally-syndicated Melinda's Garden Moment TV & radio program. Myers is a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine. Her web site is


Handling Estate Personal Property

Estate sale items

Photo courtesy of Wayne Tuiskula

In a previous column, I offered tips for estate personal representatives (previously called executors). I focused on what is a taxable estate, securing an estate, and other administrative tasks. In this column, I'll discuss handling the personal property in the estate.

Many of the people that I meet with have been appointed as personal representatives for the first time. Most of these personal representatives don't know what the personal property in the estate is worth. Sometimes a written appraisal is required for taxes or probate, and that will provide an idea of the value of the estate. Oftentimes, simply getting an oral appraisal, estimates, and advice is all that is needed.

If you ever become an estate personal representative, there are some things that you can do prior to getting an appraisal, however. You should go through the documents inside of the home. You may find a will, a deed, or other important papers during your search. Sometimes finding and distributing family photos and keepsakes will be very important to family members. While you go through drawers and other locations in the home, you should also be checking to see if there may be valuables. You could find silver flatware in the drawers of a buffet while you look for personal papers. Jewelry is of course typically found in jewelry boxes but can often be hidden in drawers throughout the estate. The same is true of coins. We often find hidden treasures throughout a house that the personal representative wasn't aware of. We've found gold and silver coins, gold jewelry, and sterling silver under beds, under couches, in closets, in attics, in crawl spaces, and in many other places we didn't expect.

I've previously discussed items that have dropped in value over the years. Most china sets, glassware, collectibles including Hummels and Lladros, and “brown furniture” sell for a fraction of what they did 25 years ago. There are also plenty of items that may have gone up in value over the years. Some you will immediately recognize, like cars, trucks, tractors, and other vehicles. Collections like art, historical objects, old advertising signs, baseball cards, comic books, art pottery, and watches are just a few of the items that you should have evaluated by an expert. Often a family member or friend may offer advice and let you know what they believe to be valuable, but it's best to get the opinion of an appraiser.

After the items have been distributed according to the terms in the will or through mutual family agreement, you can reassess. Are there still valuable items that should be auctioned? Are there enough items left to hire a professional to run an estate sale or online auction for you? Estate sale companies typically receive a percentage of sales as their pay. Some also require a flat fee and a percentage of sales. If there are $5,000 worth of items in the estate, that won't be enough for most estate sale companies to take it on. Other options are to sell the items yourself or donate them to a local charity. There may be items that no one wants, and you can hire a cleanout company or get a dumpster and throw things away yourself. It may seem overwhelming at first, but these tips can hopefully help make the task less daunting if you ever assume the role of an estate personal representative.

Our next auction will begin in November and will feature art, jewelry, sterling silver, coins, and many of the other valuable items I mentioned in this column. Our current auction with vintage toys, comic books, and posters ends on November 1st. Please visit our website for links to upcoming events.

Contact us at: Wayne Tuiskula Auctioneer/Appraiser Central Mass Auctions for Antique, Collectibles Auctions and Appraisal Services (508-612- 6111).