Sunday, 21 October 2012

Apple Butter - windfalls for the store cupboard

In the garden the apple season is in full swing, our trees are old and knarled and are the remnants of a much larger orchard for a nearby ancient farmhouse. All the gardens in the local areas have fruit trees, mainly apple or perry pear, but the fields just down the lane also have crab apples and damsons as well.
Given that this year has been the wettest on record (interesting term that as records have only been kept for a few hundred years, I digress) the fruit harvest is very variable and many trees haven't fruited well , that combined with the trees being old, codling moth and fungal diseases means that the fruit is mostly ignored locally.

I like to embrace this harvest and every year when we have fruit in the garden, we make cider (variable quality), chutney, sauce, apple butter and freeze large quantities for pies and crumbles in the winter. We are also lucky that the fallen fruit particularly in cold winters attracts flocks of redwings and fieldfares into the garden to feast on the slowly rotting piles of apples and pears.

This apple butter recipe is based on a Women's Institute recipe and one from River Cottage preserves, its a easy preserve to make and is delicious on toasted crumpets or as a filling for cakes. The proportion of sugar is lower than a jam so its keeping qualities aren't quite as good as jam and it must be stored in a cool place and eaten promptly once opened. Its smells heavenly when cooking as the spices give it a deliciously aromatic scent, which when combined the cider notes is wonderful.

  • About 1.5kg apples, cut up into chunks , only discard really manky bits !
  • Sugar - Granulated about 800g
  • 600ml Cider ( local if you can get it )
  • 600ml Water
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves ( you can use other spices it up to you)
  • Lots of recycled jars - sterilised (small one's are better so you can eat it all quickly once open)
  • Place your cut up apples, cider and water in a very large pan
  • Bring to boil and simmer until all the fruit is soft and pulpy
  • Pass through a mouli or rub through a sieve to remove the cores, pips and skins
  • Add the strained pulp back to your cleaned pan, adding approx 350g sugar for each 600ml of pulp
  • Add the spices (whichever you are using)
  • Stir and heat slowly to dissolve the sugar
  • Once the sugar has dissolved bring to a good rolling boil until the mixture is reduced and spluttering and creamy in texture
  • Pot immediately into your warmed sterilised jars
  • Cool and then store in cool location until use
National Apple Day was started by Common Ground

Apple Day

 This is also an entry for A little bit of Heaven on a plates Homemade and Well Preserved challenge 

STOP PRESS - I won best in show, amazed and such a lovely lovely prize a signed preserves book from Vivien Lloyd expert chutney and preserves maker and also a WI Judge

1 comment:

Choclette said...

Congratulations on best in show Linzi :)

How wonderful to have to have so much fruit. I usually get a few bags from my mother and make chutney and apple puree (which we have on porridge). I made apple butter a couple of years ago, but as I had to stir it for over 2 hours, I wasn't inclined to make it again. It was very tasty though, but I don't think mine had sugar in it.

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