Sunday, 22 September 2013

Oh Goodness

I've been gifted another 12 lb of Cooking apples, so it looks like Chutney all round this Christmas.

A neighbour is landscaping their garden, and decided to strip their tree and prune it. Luckily, they waited to towards the end of September - I was given 8 lb in July last year, which is way too early, it really should be October.

However, September is about right for me, because they're just immature enough for me to store them the old fashioned way. I'll beg, borrow, barter or make some wooden boxes, as the total apple count has reached at least 17 lb. In the bottom of each box will go sharp sand, followed by cleaned apples, covered with dry sharp sand, more apples and so on until a final layer of sand.

They'll be stored in Jabba, one of my huts which is cool and dark. Jabba, constructed of floorboards and bitumen served for best part of a hundred years as a farm laborers tea hut in a windswept field at Bolsover.

No way were we going to see that on a bonfire. Grumpy aged father in law replaced the rotten roof with corrugated steel and bitumen, melting his boots in the process. Now it just needs a yearly coat of Ronseal.

The same technique works well with hard fruits and root veg too. Pears, Potatoes, Carrots, Swedes, beets and turnips, and in little pots of sand, seeds.

The fruit and veg I have left will store to at least March. The downside, if you see it like that, is that throughout the winter you won't dig out shiny, firm, waxy looking things. They soften, wrinkle and sweeten, and occasionally ferment a little. Which makes for an interesting chutney.

Catchya x

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