Some of my first memories are apple picking in a house we rented for a couple of years in Surrey.
Dad would shin up a very long ladder and pass them down.
Mum would make stewed apple and keep it in kilner jars.
I loved it for breakfast. Or with sweet crunchy caramelised breadcrumbs on top as a pud.
Mike, my brother, made that as part of his scouts or cubs cooking badge. He had to make a whole three course Sunday lunch to get it.
Anyway. Those apples were the ubiquitous Bramley cooking apples that were very tart and needed sugar to make them palatable and preserve them.
Fast track fifty years and the Bramley tree here in our garden in Norfolk is diseased and will have to come down soon – this year the crop is practically non existent.
But the memory of preserving has stayed with me and I’ve bottled quite a few pears, some stewed eating apples and a big kilner jar of quince.
Instead of using a water bath to preserve them I’ve used the bottom simmering oven of the Aga.
I’ve followed directions from the Aga Cookbook by Mary Berry (written before she was famous).
I’ll be interested to see how well the fruit lasts and what it tastes like.
Most I’ve done without sugar; only the quinces have needed it as they are mouth puckeringly sour without! But I did use a recipe that suggested far less sugar than usual.
I’ve also made quince jelly.
I’ll keep the rest of the apples and pears in a dry, cold, dark place although that might be difficult as the mice (and possibly other larger rodents!) like the shed and the pantry’s crammed with other stuff.