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apple preserves

Picking the apples was just the start! Then came the processing. I spent the whole of Easter Monday in the kitchen doing things with apples but only got through the buckets and one crate. Half the Akane were juiced and frozen and the rest were peeled, cored and sliced and dried in my dehydrator. I have one of those gizmos that peels, slices and cores apples all in one go. That speeds things up considerably. I bottled some of the Lobo, using  juice from the Akane as part of the liquid. I used a new recipe to make some apple and sultana pie filling which was also bottled.

I wanted to make some apple jelly but thought it would be quicker to make it from fresh juice rather than boiling up apples and letting them drain. I did a bit of a Google and it seemed as though it would work. I used juice from the Lobo and threw some spare cores into the juicer as well to make sure there was enough pectin. I added a cup of sugar for each cup of juice and boiled it up till some set on a saucer. It seems to have turned out OK, but isn’t set very firmly.

I also used some Lobo juice to make a new batch of cider vinegar. I have been making cider vinegar for several years now so I poured what was left of the last batch into bottles and gave the ‘vinegar mother’ a rinse before adding the new juice and covering the top of the bottle with a chux cloth.apple butter

That was it for that day, but in the succeeding days I made some apple butter.  This  is a mixture of apple, cider vinegar, sugar and spice that is cooked till thick. We like it on toast, pancakes and waffles. It was very messy to make as it plops everywhere when you are boiling it down. Our old dog was hanging around licking the drips off the floor and has now got apple butter in her fur. Next time I think I will make it in the microwave like I do Quince paste.

leatherI also made some apple-berry fruit leather. For this I filled my slow cooker up with peeled, cored and sliced apple and added a 500g bag of frozen berries. When it was cooked I put it through the mouli and dried it on solid sheets in the dehydrator. Each sheet was then cut into 16ths to make strips for my son’s lunchbox. He doesn’t like apple (or many other fruits) so this is one way of getting some fruit into him.

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009We have 5 apple trees that I planted when my sons were young and consuming mountains of fruit each week. Now that the trees are finally in full production we only have 2 sons at home and one of them doesn’t like fruit. The five varieties we have are Granny Smith, Braeburn, Splendour, Akane and Lobo. The Granny Smith tree always has a large crop but they are invariable inflicted with black spot. The Braeburn never crops well and the apples it does have are very small and manky. The Spendour produces well with not too many disease problems and the Akane and Lobo groan with healthy fruit.

Lobo is primarily a cooking apple and I have been using the windfalls for a while and have also made some Walter the Saint’s Speedy Cider. The first batch is maturing and there are more apples in the freezer for another batch. The possums have been eating their share too! I finally got a pole for my apple picker (The red wire thing in the picture) and decided it was time to strip the Lobo. After I had filled 3 crates, I had run out of crates but not apples. The picker was great. Usually I have to muck around finding somewhere level to put the ladder and then it needs to be moved whereas now I can pick them all standing on the ground. 

We have been eating the Akane for about 6 weeks and I took a bucketful to church last week for Harvest Festival. They are getting to be past their best now so I thought I would juice the rest, expecting there would only be a bucketful left. In the end I picked 3 bucketfuls. When I juiced the first bucket I was surprised to see that the juice was red.

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I poured the juice into small plastic bottles to freeze for future use. I think I will dry the rest of the Akane. The Lobo will be turned into apple puree, apple butter, cider vinegar and bottled apple.

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