It is apple season again, and our four trees in the orchard have responded well to their second winter of proper pruning, and given us an increased crop. The small red variety ripen early, and we have already picked and used some of these, and they are a sweet, if slightly woolly, eater. The other three trees were not quite ripe when storm Aileen hit, and this little lot was waiting on the grass for me in the morning. Ah well, it saved me picking them. There are still a few left on the trees for later.
First priority for me is always a few dishes of savoury apple sauce to serve with roast pork through the year. Cooked up with a little salt and pepper, I like to freeze it in individual portions which I can remove from the bag while frozen, and pop in a ramekin to defrost. It is then ready to serve. By placing the bags in the ramekins to freeze, they are the correct shape and size, and once frozen I remove from the ramekins and place all the small bags in a large , labelled bag.
Next I cooked up some of the riper apples with some blackberries from the garden for a crumble later in the week.
All I need to do later is add the crumble topping and bake for 20 minutes.
My favourite autumn apple recipe is for an Old Fashioned Scottish Apple and Ginger Chutney, which is delicious with cold meats, or even hot ones. Apart from all the apple and onion chopping, it is fairly straightforward, as you just throw everything into a large pan and boil until it is the right consistency.
- 450g onions, weight is for onions when peeled and finely chopped
- 900g cooking apples, weight is for apples when peeled, cored and roughly chopped
- 100g sultanas
- 25g fresh ginger,peeled and grated
- 1 tsp dried ginger powder
- 2 tsp mixed spice
- 450g soft brown sugar
- 300ml malt vinegar
- 300ml cider vinegar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- Place all the prepared onions and apples into a large preserving pan and add the remaining ingredients.
- Bring slowly to the boil and then lower the heat so that chutney cooks at a rolling boil.
- Stir the chutney regularly and make sure it does not “catch” and burn on the base of the preserving pan.
- Keep on cooking until the chutney is the consistency of a thick jam and all the liquids have dissolved.
- (A trick to check if it is cooked is to draw your wooden spoon across the chutney, if the space that is left fills up with liquid, the chutney is not ready yet).
- Spoon the hot chutney into hot and sterile jars and seal immediately.
- Makes about 2kg chutney.
- Store in a dark and cool place and leave to mature for at least 2 weeks.
- Will keep in ideal storage conditions for up to 2 years+.