The thing I enjoy about the start of Autumn is although the days are getting shorter, the pace of my days seems to slow which is a nice reprieve from the heat and activity of summer. I can spend time working in the cool of the garden. (Mostly clearing and wondering how on earth the summer growth suddenly got away on me!).
After my son's school camp a few weeks ago I was offered the remaining fruit to take home, which happened to be just under 3 kilos of fresh gala apples, awesome! With school lunches well and truly sorted in the fruit department, I decided to preserve some for winter. The results were quite pretty, and not at all mushy (thank goodness!). Here's what I did:
First I washed my jars, lids and seals. I then put the jars into the dishwasher on a 100 degree C cycle for 30 minutes. I boiled the lids and seals in a pot of water for five minutes.I kept the jars in the dishwasher to keep them hot until I was ready to fill them.
I peeled and cored the apples and sliced them into wedges. I didn't want them too thin, so mine were about half a cm thick. I put these in a big bowl with some water and a squeeze of lemon juice (so they wouldn't go brown on me). I went with the 1kg of fruit will fill a 1 litre preserving jar quantity guide, which worked a treat.
I used the light syrup I had over from the plums I preserved recently. It was red, and a little sweet, so I watered it down a bit and added a sprinkle of cinnamon. (When I made the sugar syrup for the plums I used 3 parts water to 1 part sugar. I used raw sugar (and a bit of castor sugar if I’m honest to top up the amount as I was a bit short on my quantities). I brought the sugar and water to the boil and simmered for five minutes.
I then put the apples into the simmering syrup. They took around 10 minutes to cook. They were at the translucent stage, but held their shape.
I then put my rubber gloves on and pulled the jars out of the dishwasher, filling them with the apples carefully. I then ladled in the syrup right to the top of the jar and ran my knife down in the sides of the jar to release any air bubbles. I also remembered to use a clean cloth to wipe off any spills around the top so I’d get a good seal.
Then I put the hot seals on and screwed up the bands.
After a couple of hours the lids had become concave which means the jars successfully sealed. I’ve stored them in a cool, dark place.
Natasha McGowan is the inspiration behind Homegrown Harvest. Based in the bountiful Waikato, she is an avid home gardener and cook.
Homegrown Harvest is a regional food event featuring selected food exhibitors, the annual Food Competition and the vibrant Spade to Spatula demo kitchen.
Held annually as part of the Waikato Show at Claudelands, it's an event not to be missed.
You're invited to take your seat at the table, and tuck right in to this feast of fresh flavour. Find out more here.