The first of many

I make it a policy not to turn down offers of fresh produce. Far too much food is wasted in this country and I’m always sorry to see apples, plums and pears falling from trees and rotting. In our garden we have one tiny, fairly recently planted eating apple tree – currently growing exactly four apples. If we had more space we could have a bigger cooking apple tree, but there seems little point because we always get given apples.

Just a few to ease me in

Just a few to ease me in

And so, when I got home yesterday after a trip out, I was unsurprised to find a carrier bag of apples on the kitchen counter. These had been given to Mr Snail by our lovely next-door-neighbours, who had been given them by a friend. I know that we’ll have pounds and pounds of apples coming our way next week, but this small bag was still welcome. I considered whether to wait until I had more to add them to, but decided this morning to make a gentle start to this year’s bottling extravaganza.

So I peeled and cored, stewed, bottled and then sterilized in a hot water bath. The result… three jars for the store cupboard and some left over stewed apple for breakfast this week. They are not as exotic as peaches, nectarines or mangoes, but they do form a staple for me throughout the year and, once bottled, require no extra energy for storage (unlike freezing). Plus, I know exactly what the ingredients are (apples and a tiny bit of sugar in the syrup that I top the jars up with)… now, that’s my sort of processed food!

No doubt in two week’s time I’ll be sick of the sight of apples and bottling equipment, but for now I’m just loving all the abundance and generosity.

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14 Comments

  1. Ann Laken

     /  October 4, 2015

    Hmmm, something we need to look in to. Ours go mainly for jam if they are not good enough to store. We currently have 50 in store, with more still on the trees.

    Reply
    • I love bottled apples – no need to think ahead, just open the jar and eat. I do stew them first – you can do slices in syrup, but bottled without sugar is much more versatile. I think I made 30 or more jars last year and all of them got eaten.

      Reply
  2. Yes, it’s apple season. Glad to hear someone else doesn’t let them go to waste! Do you add anything to your applesauce? I’ve never made it before but the apples are taking over my counter!

    Reply
  3. A small batch is a lot less intimidating, isn’t it? I can remember my mother making vast quantities of apple sauce, running everything through one of those mouli things with a handle that you turn. It worked a treat, but was pretty messy. Apples, sugar and cinnamon, with a teaspoon of citric acid powder to keep the acidity up, that was it, and a whole year’s worth of apple-y goodness!

    Reply
  4. I’m enjoying seeing all the blossoms that portend the abundance you are enjoying 🙂

    Reply
    • I usually find the autumn a bit depressing because it heralds the beginning of wet, gloomy days and being stuck indoors. This year, however, I have high hopes for happy hours in the limery enjoying whatever winter sun comes our way, or simply listening to the rain on the roof whilst I sit and knit or crochet.

      Reply
      • Hurrah for the limery and all the happiness it holds! I’m sure it will make a world of difference to your days. I have the same high hopes for my tiny courtyard this year!

        Reply
  5. Have kept them as frozen apple crumbles before – never thought of keeping them like this. Currently experimenting with making cider vinegar from the left-overs. Great time of year!

    Reply
  6. My mother always made apple sauce in the fall and stewed apples with lots of cinnamon. I would do the same if I got a large quantity at once. You’ll enjoy this winter!

    Reply
    • My approach is to bottle them with minimal additions, so that I can add whatever I feel like just prior to use. Having said that, I mostly eat them with granola and yoghurt for breakfast.

      Reply
  7. What a lovely post! I fee the urge to go out and do something similar now.

    Reply

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