Friday, 4 March 2011

Autumn Harvest and Half Hearted Days

Today whilst I was driving home something red in the trees caught my eye. I slowed down to check it out and to my delight it was a wild apple tree growing by the side of the road.

It must've been serendipitous because only moments before I was thinking I should make some chutney with some old apples I had in the fridge which were perfect for jamming, but too floury to eat.

I couldn't resist temptation and I picked a basket full of the delightful tiny fruit.

Amazingly the majority were unspoilt by bugs and insects. They look like they could be Gala apples- although Im not terribly good with apple varieties. They are sweet and tart to eat.

And so cute and photogenic!

Anyway they inspired me to get cooking. Last week a friend of mine was telling me about Apple Butter she used to eat with fried biscuits (like a scone, apparently its an American thing) so I was curious to see how you make it.

I found a recipe which looked pretty easy to make and got started. I choose it because I didn't have an apple peeler and the idea of peeling each of the tiny apples was pretty unappealing....

So I cut and cooked the apples in a water and vinegar solution and they were starting to soften nicely. The next stage of the recipe called for the boiled apples to be passed through a sieve - this sounded too hard to me - so I just blended them together and then added the sugar and spices....... It wasn't until the end of the cooking that I realised that straining the mixture gives it the 'buttery' texture. Because I was in a half hearted mood I had just made thick apple sauce! Its still yummy though and now I want to make the recipe properly.

In my searching I also found a recipe for making the apple sauce in the slow cooker or crock pot which takes about 12 hours. This looks like another easy recipe :) I am a big fan of this cooking device and so tomorrow morning I will be embarking on Apple Butter #2.

Im also hoping to make a Bengal Chutney - its main ingredient is also apples. I used to make this one all the time when I sold jams and chutneys for pocket money when I was studying at Art School. I cant find my original recipe (its stashed somewhere safe) but I found a similar one on the web.

You can click on the links below to each of the recipes I am referring to :
Whilst delighting in my discover of a windfall of apples it reminded me of a movement which I heard about in London where people were sharing fruits off neglected trees in urban environments. I found a page where someone was starting to document all the trees in London called Urban Forager - a fantastic idea! I don't like to see food go to waste, which got me started dabbling with the alchemy of preserving fruit in the first place.

With a little further research, I found an article in the Sydney Morning Herald similar concept undertaken by a Sydney sider.

Hmmmm. I could be onto something here.... there's heaps of old fruit trees near where I live.

Food for Thought - as they say!


  1. I have just moved to Gunning and was at a Sew & Chat the other day where the locals were talking knowlingly about where the free apple trees and even peach trees were. I think it is great that once upon a time somebody ate an apple on their travels and threw the core to the side of the road and these marvellous gifts of free fruit resulted.

  2. How delightful to go to a sew and chat and talk about the fruit trees in the area. Id love to come and join in :)

    I agree, it is very special that once upon a time someone ate an apple and now theres a tree growing on the side of the road. And I love that other people are stopping to pick and enjoy the fruit. I passed through Gunning on the weekend and admired the town. Peach and nectarine trees seem to grow well in the area...

    Did you know to borrow fruit like this has an old english term 'scrumping' - cool huh! Im guessing thats where the term scrumptious comes from x



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