There is something undeniably appealing and quintessentially British about
having an apple tree, or two, in the garden at home. There’s nothing more
satisfying than reaching up to a branch, picking a ripe eating apple and biting
in, savouring that first juicy crunch. Likewise, apple pies and crumbles just
seem so much more delicious when they are cooked using apples from your own
trees. But as we’ve mentioned before, apple trees can produce a huge crop of
apples and it can be difficult to know how to make use of them all. In today’s
blog post, we take a look at a few ideas for tackling that glut.
Our first suggestion for using up all of those lovely apples is to make some jam, so dig out your jam making equipment and let’s get started. Apple and blackberry jam is a delicious autumn jam that will prove welcome throughout the coming months, spread thickly on toast or mixed into plain yoghurt for a tasty teatime treat.
Adding sloes to your apple and blackberry jam will make it really stand out from the crowd. Try using equal thirds of apples, blackberries and sloes, but remember that you’ll need to strain your jam before pouring it into jars, in order to remove the stones from the sloes. If you are worried about achieving a good set on your jam, you could always use jam sugar rather than regular sugar. To take all the guesswork out of it, try using a jam thermometer to make sure that your jam has reached setting point (105°).
Using a jam thermometer means that you don’t need to bother about chilling a plate in the freezer to test for a good set - if the right temperature has been reached, your jam will definitely set.
Making Apple Butter
People often turn their noses up at the mention of apple butter, mistakenly thinking that it actually contains butter. In fact, it is called apple butter only because it has a smooth, buttery texture. No butter is involved in the making of this tasty treat! Take 2kg of cooking apples and chop them roughly into a maslin pan, peel, cores and all. If there are any damaged parts, remove those.
Add 100ml of apple cider vinegar and 200ml of water and bring to the boil. Lower the heat to a steady simmer and cook for about 20 minutes until the apples are soft. Pulp the apple mix in a food processor and then measure the apple pulp mix. Return to the pan, and add 125g of sugar for every 250ml of apple pulp. Add a pinch of cloves, a pinch of allspice and two teaspoons of ground cinnamon, along with the juice and zest of a lemon.
Cook gently, stirring regularly to prevent burning, for around 90 minutes. Once cooked, the apple mix should be smooth and thick. Pour the apple butter into clean, sterilised canning jars and seal with their two-part lids. Process the jars either in a pressure canner or in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. If you use a pressure canner for apple butter, make sure that you check your canner’s instructions for the correct pressure and processing time, to avoid over-processing the jars.
Apple butter is delicious spread on toast, crumpets, waffles or pancakes and it also makes a brilliant addition to natural yoghurt or homemade granola-style breakfasts.
Delicious served with cheese or cold meats, or spread on homemade pizza, chilli jam is another great way to use up some of your apples. The first part of the process is much the same as for apple butter, but add into the pan two deseeded and sliced red chillies. Once the apple pulp is soft and mushy, remove the chillies and liquidise the pulp then strain the mixture slowly through a muslin cloth.
Measure the strained liquid to work out how much sugar to add - you’ll need an equal amount of sugar to apple pulp. Return to the pan, along with the sugar and two new chillies, chopped very finely. Take care when chopping not to get chilli juice on your hands or in your eyes, as it will sting! Bring to a rolling boil, stirring to prevent burning until your jam thermometer shows that it has reached 105°C. Pour into clean, sterilised jars and seal.
If you have been inspired to try any of the ideas we’ve suggested in this post, why not share your results with us by sending us photos via Twitter, Facebook or Instagram? If you have your own favourite preserves recipes that use apples, we’d love to hear those too. Share your stories with us on your favourite social media channel. Don’t forget to check out our great range of jam making equipment, as well as our jars and labels, so that you are completely prepared for an autumn of home preserves, using up all of those delicious apples along the way.