Our apple trees are still establishing, just a few of our own – but we have also been given apples that just needed to be used, a mix of sharp eating and cooking ones. So here are some suggestions for excess apples based on what we did this autumn.

Dried Apple Rings

These are brilliant for keeping but so delicious that they probably will not last long. Apples are peeled and cored, then sliced horizontally to make round rings about 5 mm thick. The rings are swooshed around in a solution of water and citric acid (about 10 g citric acid powder dissolved in 500 ml of water) and the liquid shaken off/dried off with kitchen towel. Then the rings can be placed in a single layer on trays in a dehydrator or an airing cupboard. Once the rings are dry, they may still be quite soft and chewy, and will store in glass jars.

Apple Cider Vinegar

A two-stage process of making cider first and then allowing it to turn to vinegar. Almost fill a clean wide-mouthed jar with apple chunks – all parts can be used, even peelings. Cover with water and stir in about 15 g of brown sugar (or you can use honey) for each 500 ml of water used. Make sure the chunks do not stick up out of the water. One way to do thisĀ is to cut some thin apple rings and layer them at the top and then press down the layer with a weighted glass or smaller jar. Do not close the lid but cover the jar with muslin or porous paper towel held firmly in place with an elastic band. Label with date and leave at room temperature (or a bit warmer) for 4 to 6 weeks, occasionally stirring. Natural fermentation will occur, and bubbles start rising, plus a lovely cider aroma develops, till the apples sink. A scum will form as the fermented alcohol is then transformed into acetic acid, and a vinegar mother will eventually develop, sort of flabby layer. Strain off the liquid and put into glass bottles and label. Can be diluted or sweetened as you like.

Apple and Grape Chutney

Yummy recipe adapted from The Preserving Book (eds C. Mackinlay and M. Rickets, 1978) 1 kg grapes, 1 kg apples, 250 g raisins, 625 g brown sugar, 300 ml cider vinegar, 150 ml lemon juice, 2.5 ml each of ground cinnamon, cloves, ginger and salt, pinch of paprika and grated rind of a lemon. Halve the grapes and remove any seeds, peel, core and chop the apples, add with all the remaining ingredients to a preserving pan and bring to the boil. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for one hour till soft, brown and thick. Pot into hot glass jars with lids. Goes with almost everything, especially cheese.

Lots more possibilities….

Apple and ginger tea bread

Apple and cabbage coleslaw

Apple and herb jelly…..