Thursday, 5 May 2016


I check out the roadside fruit trees whenever I am out and about, and in this case, I found something I hadn't seen before.  Asking online, I was told that it was Japonica, and was a kind of quince.  So in theory it could be used to make jellies and those sorts of things that quince can be used for.

Japonica - 2016-04-07 - 01 - Found roadside in town

I need to research what I can graft this to, and if I have something suitable, I might do that in the late Autumn.

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Apple Butter

I've been curious about trying to make apple butter.  In theory, if the apples you cook are sweet enough, it shouldn't be necessary to use anything else to make it other than apple.  This post won't tell you how to make it, but I'll make some observations in case you follow the recipe I used.

I was inspired to make it, because one of the nearby roadside apples is very sweet tasting.  I had tried to buy a sweet apple variety in the past for my orchard, but the nursery who sells the more niche varieties had none at the time.

Anyway, I used a borrowed juicer which someone long ago bought for a juicing diet.

Apple Butter - 2016-04-02 - 02 - Juicing

This gave a quantity of apple juice.  The discarded apple material was also dehydrated at the same time.

Apple Butter - 2016-04-02 - 03 - Simmering juice

Next the space in a container that the juice occupied was filled with whole apples.  These were then peeled, chopped and added to the simmering juice.

Apple Butter - 2016-04-02 - 04 - Adding apple flesh

And this in turn was reduced until it was thick and caramel-like, and set on a chilled plate.

Apple Butter - 2016-04-02 - 05 - Reducing

After which it was poured into two sterilised jars, covered, labelled and stored in the cupboard.

Apple Butter - 2016-04-07 - 01 - Jarred

This really needs a larger deeper pot, and a splatter guard.  The stove and surrounding benches, and to some degree other various things had spots of apple over them when it was done.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Elderberry jelly

One of the bedrooms has an elderberry tree outside the window.  It was laden with elderberries, so I picked two kilograms and found a recipe to make elderberry jelly.

The first step was to remove as much of the stems and occasional leaf material as possible.

Elderberries - 2016-04-01 - 01 - Awaiting processing

Then to mash them lightly in a pan, and to heat it up and some other stuff.  Eventually straining out the juice removing the skins and stones.  The main thing was to not crush the stones too much because they're the toxic part.

Elderberries - 2016-04-01 - 02 - Extracting juice

I added sugar and a pectin mix from the supermarket.  This pectin mix is expensive and contains sugar already, but not enough sugar, so you need to factor in how much sugar they included with your own sugar.  I've since bought some pure pectin to use instead, so it's more straightforward in future.

Elderberries - 2016-04-26 - 01 - Extracting juice

Here's the result.  Four reused jars and seals.  The jars were heated in the oven, and the lids boiled.  None of the lids had damaged insides, where there are slight rusted bits, like there sometimes are in these lids.  And all the seals popped as the jars cooled.  There was some condensation inside the jars, but I read on the internet that this gets absorbed by the preserved fruit/vegetable and goes away.. which it did.

The juice tasted quite nice, and would be nice to try in a syrup next year.  I'll leave these on the shelf to try in the winter.