Crabapple jelly and jam
Crabapple jelly and jam
Crabapple is not a fruit I have had much experience with in the past, but my BIG crabapple tree at my new house in Dunedin has forced me to have a closer look at possibilities regarding these beautiful little fruits. I have spoken with the experts, borrowed cook books from my neighbors, googled, took advice from bloggers and, after a lot of reading picked about 10 Kg of crabapples (still have about 30 Kg left on the tree). I have decided to start with crabapple jelly. Most references suggested throwing the pulp away after extracting the juice, but my “use all and throw nothing away” culture has compelled me to do something with it. So here is what I did
10 kg crabapples
10 liters Water
Boil for about 20 minutes
Separate the pulp and juice by filtering through cheesecloth and put the pulp aside
Heat the juice to boiling point and add 1 Kg Sugar for every kg of liquid. Simmer the mixture until it reaches setting point. Quickly, while still hot and before it gelatinises, filter again through cheesecloth and bottle. Seal bottles and sterilise in a boiling bath for 20 minutes. The clear, pink jelly sets beautifully and is delicious. I also made a batch where I added chili and rosemary to the original fruit – a very interesting and tasty jelly resulted and I would probably make some more.
I have taken the pulp and put it through my Italian tomato pasata machine, which separates the skin and pips from the fine pulp. Heat the pulp to boiling point and add 1 kg of Sugar for every kg of pulp. Simmer the mixture until it reaches setting point. Seal bottles and sterilise in a boiling bath for 20 minutes. Beautiful and absolutely delicious jam.
The skins and pips I am using to make alpple cider vinegar. I think it will be good, as I normally use the cores and skins of ordinary apples to make this. I make large quantities of vinegar every year, of which I use most as is, but convert some to a mosto cotto
ROASTED CRABAPPLES AND HONEY
I have dribbled some fresh crabapples with honey and roasted them in the oven until soft, then served with home made custard – I never thought crabapples could taste so good, even though it was on the sour side where the rest of the household was concerned.
This week I am going to try making crabapple chutney and a cider. After all that I should still have another 10 kg of fruit left on the tree.
I find it strange that the big kereru pigeons do not eat the fruit since they stripped the cherry trees and had a good go at the plum tree.
I had to photograph the result of a cooking discussion or, cooking bickering, if you must.
The great thing about being self sufficient and eating from the vegetable patch is the joy of harvesting something one grew oneself. It is organic and fresh even if, at time whatever is harvested is gnarled and puny it still tastes wonderful. The bad thing is that one is held hostage by the blackbird that eats all the seedlings the chickens overlooked when they were free ranging last time. The seasons and climate, especially here in Dunedin , dictate whether things grow or not and the person in control of the garden constantly suffers arched inquiries as to why in the world so much (or so little) of something was planted
Sometimes there is a glut of something and then the search for a great recipe, or, often many great recipes of one particular vegetable or fruit depending on the amount harvested. The frantic paging through the cookbooks begin, and since my 200 plus books are all about regional Italian cooking the search can not be narrowed down to, say, Indian or Chinese, and mutterings of ‘ it was always in this book, where has it gone’ are commonplace. A lot of time is spent getting side tracked when I see something fondly remembered or something I always wanted to try. Once the recipe is selected sudden resistance from the household to the ingredients could flare up, prompting the beginning of a new search and the hauling out of more books!
I am prepared for the winter when there will be no cherries at all. I shall be drinking the cherry infused brandy and eating the cherries in front of the fire!
Cherries in Brandy
350 g sugar
1 liter brandy
Ripe, unblemished cherries, stalks on, washed. stones in
Dissolve the sugar in the brandy. Cut the end of the cherry stalks off leaving about 1/2 of the stalk on the cherry and prick the cherry with a needle on the opposite side of the stem. Pack the cherries in the jars, ensure that the jars are full enough so that the cherries will not float around later. Pour the brandy mixture in the jars, make sure that all the cherries are covered. Store in a cool dark place for 3 months before eating.
I try very hard but I always eat mine up long before the 3 months are past and they always taste wonderful!
A very quick desert that is not only healthy but also delicious. I always weigh out all the ingredients before the guests arrive and then after everybody finished their meal, quickly make the Zabaglione. If your guests can watch you from the table, it makes an interesting conversation topic, especially when using Quail eggs. This recipe is enough for 4 polite dinner guest. If you are at all greedy, double it !
4 chicken egg yolks or 16 quail egg yolks. Keep the egg whites for other things like an egg white frittata for lunch
65g castor sugar
120g Marsala (sherry is also good)
savoiardi biscuits (lady finger biscuits will do but only just)
Mix four chicken egg yolks and castor sugar in a double boiler. Over the boiling water, whisk the egg and sugar until all the sugar is dissolved and the mix is pale yellow and thick. Slowly add the Marsala while whisking continuously over the boiling water. Whisk until the zabaglione almost doubles in volume and thickens to such an extent that it will hold it’s shape in a spoon – this may take up to ten minutes. In the mean time place some savoiardi biscuits in a serving glasses pour in the zabaglione and serve immediately. Use an electric beater if you are not great at whisking.
The problem is always what to do with all the egg whites after the grandchildren became tired of meringue and amaretti. Eating a wonderful egg white fritata the following morning solves this problem.