One of the joys of having a back garden with apple trees is that we get lots of free produce! Our autumn apple harvest was a couple of weeks early this year. I harvested as many crab apples as I could reach in late August, and the wasps got the rest. Our bramley cooking apple tree was ready for harvesting from early September, and many of those ended up in the compost. The remaining bramley apples are living in our “Harry Potter cupboard”, a.k.a. cupboard under the stairs, which is relatively cool. In this post, I share a few autumn apple harvest recipes with you, in case you also have a glut of apples to use up!
The main thing to bear in mind with crab apple recipes is that you need to have the time and patience to quarter dozens of tiny apples! You also shouldn’t eat the seeds.
For all of these recipes, you can either use sterilized canning jars, and seal them (if you know what you’re doing), or freeze in clean class jars with an inch of space on the top for expansion.
Crab Apple Butter
Yield: (approx. 3 Litre Slow Cooker)
- About 3lbs of quartered apples (with skin, but no seeds)
- Juice from 1 lemon
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1.5 cups water
- ¾ cup sugar
Add ingredients to the slow cooker and cook on high heat for 2-3 hours. The mixture is ready when the apples are soft and the mixture is smooth.
I like this apple butter spread on crumpets with lots of regular butter! It is tart like rhubarb.
Recipe is adapted from Champagne-Tastes.com
Crab Apple Jelly
The neat thing about crab apples is that they have lots of pectin in them, so you don’t need to add powdered pectin for the jelly to set! I’ve never made jelly before, but I’ve made jam a few times.
This jelly didn’t go to plan… I knew that the boiling mixture would eventually hit this point where it started foaming, and I kept a constant eye on the mixture so that it wouldn’t boil over. Well, I popped upstairs to go to the bathroom and my jelly decided that was the moment to boil over. Jelly went everywhere! Thankfully I didn’t burn myself, but I spent half an hour wiping jelly off the stove, the floor, the oven door etc. It also burnt onto the stove top, which was horrendous to try and get off. Most disappointingly, half of my jelly was wasted!
Thankfully, the jelly that was left reached setting point, and tastes absolutely delicious! You can tell if jelly is set by putting some on a plate and putting it in the fridge for a few minutes. If it wrinkles when pushed, it’s set. I ended up with four small jars of jelly, but I still think it is worth it for this beautiful pink, sweet jelly.
Notes: I reduced the amount of sugar the recipe, which originally called for 1/2 cup sugar to 1 cup juice. For straining, I used my nut milk bag and the rubber glove for washing up, so that I didn’t burn my hand when straining.
- Wash and slice into quarters 4 cups of crab apples.
- Put the apples into your saucepan(I used my Dutch Oven) and add just enough water to cover the fruit.
- Cook on high for 20-30 minutes, or until the fruit is soft.
- Using a fine strainer (I used a nut milk bag), strain the juice from the apples and collect it in a bowl.
- Add the juice back to the saucepan and add 1/3 cup sugar for every cup of juice produced.
- Bring to a boil and continue to simmer until jelly is set. I found this took about 45 minutes, but, as I mentioned above, my jelly boiled over and made a mess.
- Ladle the jelly into jars and allow to come to room temperature if freezing, or add your lid and listen out for the “pop” to confirm the jar is sealed.
Recipe adapted from Mostly Homemade Mom
Bramley Apple Compote
- 3 Large Bramley Apples, peeled and cut into large chunks
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- A few tablespoons of water
Add to a slow cooker and cook on high for 1-2 hours, until apples and soft and mostly broken down into pulp. Alternatively, cook in a saucepan with a lid on low heat, checking frequently.
I add a generous tablespoon of this mixture when cooking porridge. You can also eat it on ice cream, or use as a pie filling!
What are your favourite recipes for using up your autumn apple harvest?