This year I made a mighty effort to produce as many apples as I could. The end result of course being that we had more apples than we could possibly eat.
At one stage we had six plastic shopping bags, all full of either Granny Smith, Pink Lady and Royal Gala, taking up valuable beer space in the beer fridge. But no more. Thanks to a concerted effort by us all we’ve transformed those somewhat blemished and unappealing fruits into something glorious.
Nearly all my fruit, like its grower, would never have made it past the first round in a beauty competition. Growing apples means that unless you’re prepared to spray them with all kinds of chemicals, you’ll end up with some form of damage.
Unaccustomed as we are to eating blemished fruit, value adding is the best way to make use of nature’s bounty.
We’ve always made our own jams and marmalade but making jelly was something that we’ve never contemplated. The apple glut changed that.
The process of making jelly is like making jam except you cook the fruit with some water until it’s mushy and strain it through a piece of muslin. The next day you add the sugar and jam setting compound and cook it like you do jam. It takes a bit longer but boy, does it ever taste good, especially on a home made croissant.
The next product we made was some apple brandy, or as it’s known in the USA, apple jack. Essentially you peel and cook up some apples and sugar and add that to some brandy and white wine. To that you throw in some spices like cinnamon sticks and cloves and let it sit for a few weeks to mature.
Apple relish was next off the list and although it tastes incredibly good, it looks a bit insipid compared to our tomato based chutneys and relishes. Then we discovered that lo and behold, we were running low on apples. We had just enough of our favourite baking apple, the good old Granny Smith, to bake one of my favourite cakes, the Russian apple cake.
So now we’re completely apple free. The fridge’s innards are now clinking to the sound of bottles of home brew beer, the pantry is chock-full of apple jelly and relish, and slices of apple are flavouring some brandy. It’s a pity I’ve eaten all the cake really.