06 October 2013

Fruitful pursuit

These jars of chutney used up 20 apples - and took 2.5 hours to make, much of it spent peeling and chopping the apples and tomatoes and mint. With The Food Programme and Gardeners Question Time on in the background, for much of the time.

Which, at time of writing, leaves these bruised beauties to turn into jelly (with lemon and ginger) -
And more will be coming off the tree... Might get around to trying chilli apple jelly with the next lot.

Apple Mint Chutney

Peel, core, and chop 4 lb (2kg) cooking apples.
Skin and chop 1 lb (500g) ripe tomatoes.

Cook apples with 1/2 pint (450ml) vinegar until thick and pulpy, then stir in the tomatoes and
another 1/2 pint vinegar
1 lb (450g) soft brown sugar
2 level teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 tsp mixed spice
large pinch cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 lb (250g) seedless raisins

Cook for 15 minutes, then add
2oz (50g) finely chopped mint and cook a further 5 mins or until thick.
Pot and cover.

Apple Jelly

per 2 lb (1 kg) apples - use 1 large or 2 small lemons, 1 tablespoon ground ginger. 

Cut up the apples, removing bruises etc. Put in a pan with grated lemon rind and cold water almost to cover (the amount depends on the hardness of the fruit), then cook slowly till soft, 30 mins or so. 

Put pulp into jelly bag over a large bowl and leave to drain for 3-4 hours or overnight. Don't squeeze the bag (it will make the jelly cloudy). 

Measure the juice and put in a large pan with an equal volume of sugar, the juice of the lemons, and the ginger. Bring to the boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Boil vigorously for 10-15 minutes or until setting point is reached. On a sugar thermometer, the setting point will be reached at 105C/220F - or, drop some jelly onto a cold plate and if it forms a crinkly skin, it's set.*

Remove the pan from the heat and leave to settle for a few minutes. Skim* the surface. Pour the liquid jelly through a wide mouthed funnel into jars that have been sterilized (put in oven at 90C/200F/Gas¼). Seal each jar with a lid.

Here's what Delia says about setting point, and about skimming -

How to test for a set: at the same time as you begin cooking the fruit, place three or four saucers in the freezing compartment of the fridge. When you have boiled the jam for the given time, remove the pan from the heat and place a teaspoonful of the jam on to one of the chilled saucers. Let it cool back in the fridge, then push it with your finger: if a crinkly skin has formed on the jam, then it has set. It if hasn’t continue to boil for another 5 minutes, then do another test.

Don’t worry about any scum that rises to the surface while the jam is boiling – if you keep skimming it off, you’ll finish with no jam at all! Instead, wait until you have a set, then remove the jam from the heat and stir in a small lump of butter, which will disperse the scum.

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