Monday, 14 September 2015

More Apples .....


The apples are still raining down on me .... along with the rain!!  

Shaking the branches of the trees to bring a few more down. while I am there to pick them up straight away, brings down a deluge of big fat blobs of leaf caught rainwater ... and of course because you're looking up when you do this the blobs go all down your face, neck and shirt and it makes for a soggy harvesting ten minutes or so.

But it's worth it  :-)


Back in the kitchen after giving the newly acquired harvest of apples a quick wash I spring into action.  I finally succumbed after six years of doing this with a peeler, corer and knife and bought myself one of these nifty little peeler/corer/slicer gadgets, it speeds the whole process up considerably and cost me only £14.95 so money well spent, even if I do have to grit my teeth and store yet another gadget in the kitchen cupboard when I've finished.  

The only thing I don't like about it .... the suction pad sucks!!  

Well it doesn't  ... at all, it just doesn't stick to the worktop, and I've tried various things to stick it to, so it's not just our oiled teak worktop that's the problem.  I've tried a scrubbed wooden chopping board, a plastic board and even the oilcloth tablecloth.  The only thing I can't try it on is a glass chopping thingy.  I hate them, they ruin your knives so I don't allow them in the house, and grit my teeth when I have to use them in holiday homes etc.  Lovely Hubby said he is going to find me a suitable clamp to fix it to the edge of the worktop in time for next years harvesting .... or I might just go and have a rummage in the Man Shed instead of waiting   ;-)


Anyway I persevere and hold it down with one hand and eventually the apples get peeled/cored/chopped and dropped into cold salted water in the sink. 

 I've tried lemon juice in the water and yes, that works fine too, to stop the apples going brown while you prepare the big batch, but salt works just as well and is considerably cheaper, and I always have a tub of it next to the sink.  So salt water is my soak of choice.  Just make sure you give the apples a couple of rinses before they go into the pan for cooking!!


The peelings and cores go to the chickens, but they're getting a bit fed up of apple now .... well they do have the majority of apple trees in and around Chicken World, so they get first nabs at the windfalls anyway.  The next couple of bowlfuls went to the compost bin instead,  I could tell it was almost more grateful than the birds ;-)


Then they were cooked in a big pan on the top of the Aga in just a smidge of water with a couple of spoonfuls of added sugar, until the majority of the apples were mush and only a few larger bits remained (this is how we like it and why I use a mix of eating and cooking apples), the apples were  swiftly decanted into hot jars straight from the warming oven of the Aga.

Of course for health reasons I now try not to use much sugar in my recipes, and as sugar is usually the main preservative in this sort of preserving I decided this couldn't be just bottled in my usual way. I also need this batch to be kept for a while as we are still eating our way through some bottled the year before last!!


So I did reprocess everything in my big jam pan to get a good vacuum.  Just 30 minutes of neatly steaming up the kitchen with each panful and everything was ready.


All labelled up and ready to be stored ..... somewhere, I'm not sure where yet, I'm quickly running out of storage space!

Then I went out to check for eggs in Chicken World .....



.... and found one egg and five more apples .... argghh .... off we go again.

Sue xx

24 comments:

  1. My boys went blackberry picking last week and I have containers full of them in my freezer. Whenever they go over the fields they come back with some, I do 't want to appear ungrateful but I imagine you feel the same as me when you see an apple as when I see a blackberry. Sick of the sight of them!!

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    1. We went picking in the paddock last night during the doggy walk and came back with 1.5kg, of blackberries, so today I've been dealing with them ... and I've still got some in the freezer from last year!! :-)

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  2. All this Harvest Hunkering makes a pile of work but it's worth it! Or should we just go to the shop and buy an apple pie or apple sauce?
    xx

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    1. Well we could .... but the flavour wouldn't be there, the cost would be a lot higher and where is the satisfaction in lifting something off a shelf and handing over hard earned cash for ta jar has a list of ingredients that are not always what they purport to be. I watched a programme recently that showed the reality behind the so called 'natural' additives in the foods available to buy in the shops, I was not impressed!

      Turning our own produce into edibles for the future is the only sort of processed foods I want in the house whenever possible. :-)

      My Apple Sauce ingredients list: Apples, 2tbs Sugar, 2tbs Water.

      A tin of Processed Apples that I have in the cupboard ingredients: Apples, Sugar, Modified Maize Starch, Water, Preservative ..... I haven't been able to bring myself to eat it. I bought it years ago and unfortunately it is now out of date or it would have gone to the Food Bank!!

      I'll stick with mine and carry on with the 'Hunkering'. :-)

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  3. I did have a little chuckle at your last words over the apples and the egg :-) Your apples have been like my blackberry bush its been never ending but yummy though. I will take on board the tip about the lemon juice and the salt useful to know. Enjoy your apple jars, dee :-)

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    1. You can't beat a never ending blackberry bush.

      I've experimented quite a bit with the salt or lemon in the water thing, and there's really no difference to what you've left soaking, you just have to rinse more carefully with the salt water.

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  4. We have a sucker pencil sharpener and the only place it works really well (most of the time) is on the glass cooker top!

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    1. Haha ..... exactly where you want a pencil sharpener ;-)

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  5. Salty apple pie. Hmmmm, that's something to avoid!

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    1. Definintely!! Always rinse twice ... forget at your peril ;-)

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  6. I have one of those peeler/corer/slicer things, from Pampered Chef many years ago. It works really well and not as much stress on my hands with peeling. My mother used to drop some red hot candies into her apple sauce to make it pink and a little cinnamony. WE all loved it.

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    1. Sounds delicious, I might do a few more jars with cinnamon in as I really love it. Some of these are to be used in savoury recipes so I wanted them simply apple, but adding some natural pink colour would make the different kinds stand out in the cupboard :-)

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  7. My mother in law bought one of those gadgets. We set it up for her as the instructions were complicated, as they were in Chinese !!! She loves it.

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    1. Oh gosh, at least mine were in English :-)

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  8. You could always make your own cider vinegar with the peelings. I've done a couple of batches, some to use and some to clean with.

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    1. Brilliant idea!! There's lots more apples to come so I might have a go at that, thanks for the idea :-)

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  9. We have one of those peeler corer thingies but it has a clamp on it instead of the sucker thing. We just clamp it on a large cutting board and zip it is all done in a jiff.

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    1. I couldn't find one with a clamp, perhaps I didn't look hard enough. I know there are a few suitable sized clamps somewhere in Lovely Hubby's shed, so I'll have a look around next time I'm in there ... he'll never notice one missing ;-)

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  10. Please can you tell us how you make your cider vinegar : )

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    1. I've never made it before, I guess I'll have to Google how to do it. If I do manage to make it I'll do a post about it. :-)

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  11. I use my apple peelings with lemon & orange skins to make Apple and Citrus jelly- in River Cottage Preserves book called Compost heap jelly so really no waste at all,just add sugar.

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    1. How weird is that ..... coincidence or what!! I sat down and watched Pam's Dvd 'River Cottage Preserves' yesterday while I had lunch and was intrigued by the Compost Heap Jelly she made. What a brilliant way to use up scraps :-)

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  12. got home from work today to two trays full of apples on the worktop, one of eaters and one of cookers. Old man over the road asked hubby if he wanted any. will share them with daughter but I would be interested to know how you water bathed them to help preserve them. I have never water bathed anything before.

    Pat

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    1. Exactly as you see in the picture, put your jars in a large deep pan, sat on a cloth so they are not touching the metal of the pan (or the glass will get too hot and could crack), and cover with water. If your pan is not deep enough to completely cover the jars just get it as high as you possibly can. Bring to the boil and keep it just below the boil for about 30 minutes.

      When you take the jars out of the pan stand them on a wooden board or worktop, not on anything metal or again you risk your jars cracking. Let them cool down long and slow, mine took about 10 hours before they were cool right to the centre, so overnight is good.

      As they begin cooling you will be rewarded with loud pops as a vacuum seal is formed and you know your fruit will keep safely for a long time. We're still eating apples I did this way two years ago.

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