Apple Compote - Having Fun Practising New Skills of Food Preserving For Winter!

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Wednesday 30 September 2015

Apple Compote - Having Fun Practising New Skills of Food Preserving For Winter!

Once again inspired by the new people we have met and our first attempt at preserving food for winter in the form of tomato coulis, this time we decide to have a little fun by trying our hand at apple sauce.  This time we had been give a lesson in larger scale sterilisation of jars - starting a fire to save on gas.  Whilst we cannot store a lot of food ourselves for winter because we will be travelling in our motorhome and are concious of our van's payload, it was another fun learning experience continuing to develop these new skills.  This is a photo record of how we got on.......  

We've really enjoyed interacting and learning from people living with a more traditional mindset of preserving fresh fruits and vegetables that are abundant at one time of year i.e. summer and autumn so that they can be eaten all year round.  As we have previously reflected on, it feels much more natural and in line with the seasons to enjoy foods fresh when they are ripe on the tree and to stop the excess spoiling and going to waste by preserving it for leaner times.  One method is to stew and store in sterilised jars (sometimes referred to as 'canning).  Although apples can be harvested in autumn and kept for some time if stored correctly and in a cool place, some apples are better for cooking.  Having apple sauce or compote on hand can be useful for a quick breakfast or dessert any time as well as be a useful ingredient to have in for baking (plus in a motorhome storing kilos of apples takes us a lot of space compared to a few jars of apple sauce).  Once again this post is intend for us as our diary and not in any way a guide to food preservation.  Please consult a more comprehensive source for that.

Step 1:  Acquire a big box of cooking apples at a good price from a local source.

Step 2:  Find a nice sunny spot to sit and peel all of the apples (alternatively if you have one use a hand mechanised apple peeler / corer - we didn't have one).   Keep the peel to feed to chickens if you have some or press to make juice / cider vinegar!

Step 3:  Get a little tired of peeling apples and get some else to take over!

Step 4: Dice the peeled apples into a large pan!  Add a couple of cups of water and simmer.

Step 5:  Spilt the diced apples into two pans as there are too many for one pan!  Stir regularly to make sure the apples don't stick on and add extra water if necessary depending on the type of apple and how juicy they are.

Step 6:  Get someone to make a fire! Bring another large pan of water to the boil over the fire and immerse clean jars and lids in the water for about 10-15mins.  Then carefully remove the sterilised jars from the boiling water, being careful not to touch any surface the food will be in contact with.

Step 7:  By now apples are getting cooked / mushy.  Decide whether you want chunky apple sauce or smooth compote.  Use a hand blender for the later.

Step 8:  Ladle apple sauce into sterilised jars (we used a metal ladle that we'd also sterilised in boiling water before using):

Step 9:  Screw on lids and then careful place the sealed jars back into the pan and cover with boiling water for 50-60 mins.  Keep the fire stoked with fresh wood!

Step 10: Remove jars carefully from pan and stand upside down while they cool to check that the seal is intact (check for leaks).  And voilà sauce au natural.....!

Step 11:  Share pots with friends who have helped you learn new skills!

1) We were very grateful to our host for use the pots and pans, some jars, the kitchen and wood for the fire.
2) As we're new to this, we'll probably still reheat the sauce well / bring to back to boil before we use it.  However the website we followed and advice we were given suggests we could eat it cold and that we can keep the jars for up to a year.  
3) We'd like to say once again that this is a record for our diary our our attempt and in no way meant to be a comprehensive guide to making apple sauce and / or safe food preservation.  Please consult a more comprehensive information resource if you want to make preserves.  

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