Waste not, want not.

 

The apple trees in the garden here are at least 130 years old – the house was built in about 1890 on part of an orchard.  There’s a Worcester Pearmain, Cox’s Pippin, Bramley, another cooking apple and an intriguing Golden Delicious that produces fruit with one or more “seams” – ridges from top to bottom.

Every year I’m overwhelmed with windfalls so have a nifty piece of kit to transform them into Juice.  It’s a Scandinavian aluminium pot comprising (bottom-to-top): a water tank, a juice reservoir with a funnel through the middle for the steam to pass plus spout for the rubber hose and clip, a basket for the apple pieces and lid.  It is supremely simple to use just chop up the apples, extracting the worse bruises and any wildlife.  Toss the apple into the basket, switch on the hob and let the water boil to steam them.  The juice drips down into the reservoir where it, in turn, is heated by the water – nearly pasteurised, ready for drawing off through the rubber pipe, controlled by the clip.

Reusing plastic water bottles is the ideal storage.  Not only are they saved from landfill but the hot apple juice makes them collapse a little, just about vacuum packing the juice.  This is where I need a hand: managing wilting bottles of very hot liquid isn’t safe when you can’t see what’s going on!  The bottled juice needs to be kept out of the light and I tend to store it in the fridge.

My goal is to use the juice within a year but I have had some several years old and it was still delicious.  It is an excellent thirst-quencher when diluted with fizzy water (keep the bottle for next year) or we use it in the homemade granola.

I try to use every apple: dried in the dehydrator for the granola or cakes; frozen as puree; in crumbles, pies and puddings; the Cox’s sautéed in a little butter and sugar until caramelised are the base for many a Tarte Tatin.  And I haven’t even started on all the chutneys and other preserves …I’ve even used an apple press and made my own cider.

 

 

 

 

Glut of apples.

Do you know? • What to do with a glut of apples?

A deluge of apples is falling in the garden – the trees are well over 100 years old.  We haven’t got round to picking them all yet but are trying to use the windfalls first: despite being battered, it seems just too wasteful to toss them in the compost.  The longest bit of this recipe is peeling and chopping the apples to get all those odd bits that are worth using.  I also managed to get hold of pullet eggs (much smaller than the usual eggs that the hens will go on to lay).  This mix uses extra flour to offset the moisture released from the apples – and you could add a further tsp or so of baking powder if you like).

140709 - Apple tree

225 gm butter

280 gm sugar

8 pullet eggs (or 4 large)

2 generous tsp vanilla extract

350 gm self-raising flour (or plain with some baking powder)

450 gm peeled apples – chopped in to about 1 cm cubes

Process the butter and sugar until light and fluffy then add the eggs and vanilla extract slowly until a very light airy mix.  Pulse in the flour.  Gently fold in the apple.  Spoon in to about 2 inch muffin-type tins – I made about 24 individual little cakes.  Bake 20 minutes Gas 6.  Sprinkle on some extra sugar before or after cooking if the waistline permits!  You could add some ground cinnamon (a tsp or so) with the flour but I found that the delicate apple flavour became a bit blunted.

I am also extracting pasteurised apple juice from the peelings and other windfalls to make apple juice with a rather esoteric Scandinavian steamer pan.  A stack of tartes Tatin has gone in to the freezer.  I’m planning to dry apple slices in the dehydrator but think I’ll skip pressing juice for cider this year.

Damsons are destined for months soaking in gin or brandy to make liqueurs while all the small, less ripe ones have already been transformed in to a very good savoury chilli and ginger jam – delicious!