Posts Tagged ‘Preserve’

Ugly Apples

We have these little apples growing on the smallholding. The tree is ancient and gnarled and the poor little apples (which would otherwise be quite pretty with their red blush and dainty heart shape) are rather unsightly with a mottled appearance. I have no idea what species they are, but I researched them and from their appearance think they may be a popular Victorian dessert variety called Adam’s Pearmain. However they confusingly have a complex, bittersweet taste characteristic of certain cider apples.

There are said to be at least 2,000 varieties of apples in England, making it pretty difficult to be certain what variety our little apples are – and if the tree grew from a pip, there is apparently no way to classify them at all – so  they are “Ugly Apples” for now.

– Tatyana –


1 Kilo (5 cups) Ugly Apples {or cider apples – any bittersweet variety}

1 Kilo (5 cups) Fair Trade Sugar

700g (3 cups) Mineral Water {plus more to top up if needed.}

15g (3 tsp) Citirc Acid {omit if using regular desert, or cooking apples}

10-12 new jars with lids (200g/8oz size)


Remove and discard any blemishes or skin with mottled marks (leave the rest of the skin – keeping as much as possible). Remove and discard apple seeds, stem and inner core. Chop roughly into large pieces of about 2 cm – 2.5 cm (3/4 inch – 1 inch) and place in a stainless, steel heavy bottomed pot with water.

Boil on medium heat, keeping pot lid on. Add citric acid. Continue boiling until apples start to break down (flesh should be translucent and skin should be tender). This takes about 5 hours for our bittersweet Ugly Apples. If you use normal desert apples, or standard Bramley cooking apples it will take much less time – probably about an hour. Keep checking moisture content; if mixture seems dry, add a little bit of water. Be careful not to add too much, or finished preserve will be too runny

*Be careful of temperature being too high – if mixture looks like it may be in danger of scorching, turn the heat down. A heavy bottomed pot helps to avoid this.

Add all of sugar and mix until dissolved and integrated fully. Check temperature is not too high. Slowly bring to a rapid boil and continue boiling for about 5 minutes.

*You can check if the preserve has the right consistency by putting a little on a plate and cooling it in the fridge. It should gel nicely once it has cooled. Most preserves and jams have the problem of being too runny, but apples have so much natural pectin (the thickening agent in fruits), it is more likely your preserve will be too thick than too runny. (If you prefer a runnier preserve, add a little more water and bring back to a boil.)

Bottle finished preserve into clean sterilised jars and cap immediately.

*A wide mouthed jam funnel helps greatly.

Pasteurise all jars of preserve: Submerge all sealed jars into a pot of boiling water (the depth of water above the jars should be at least 2 inches). Bring back to the boil and boil for a further 5 minutes.

*This is a tedious step, but is necessary to ensure a longer shelf life. Alternatively if you really want to cut out this step: put jars into fridge once cooled and make sure to eat it all within about 6 weeks.


Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: