Preserving Apples - When the Time Is Right, Waste None

Apples are a typical fruit for Central Europe. We use them to make ciders, juices, marmalades, kompots, teas, etc. They contain many substances beneficial for our body; they have positive influence on improving our body's immune system and they contain substances helpful against stress. If you wish to have this "home doctor" available for you all year long, preserve some apples according to our recipes.

The time when apples get ripe in our gardens comes in autumn, at the turn of October/November. Fruits you don't manage to eat afresh or store can be preserved.

It is a procedure very suitable for storing your food for winter. Preserving fruits and vegetables has always been common knowledge for housewives and cooks. You can also preserve fruits you cannot store otherwise. It must not be spoilt, damaged or unsightly. Before preserving, inspect all fruits carefully and discard fruits that have been damaged or infected - even a single bad is able to ruin a whole batch.

Some people worry that preserving apples and fruits in general requires a lot of sugar; these worries are not entirely justified. Less sweetened kompots are healthier and also tastier. Fruits preserved in its own juice requires no sugar at all. If you plan your work well, preserving doesn't even take that much time.

Kompots

Kompot is fruit juice obtained by cooking fruits in a large amount of water. Apart from preserving apples, we also recommend cooking pomes, a fruit related to apples. Non-ripe or overripe fruits are not suitable to make kompots with. We sort out the apples and wash them thoroughly. We remove inedible parts (stems, cores, kernels) from the fruits, we peel the apples (however, if you have beautiful apples with red skin, you don't have to peel them as they make the kompot look tasty). We divide the apples into neat eighths. Since fruits such as apples or pomes turn brown when exposed to air, we pour them with citric acid during preparation; it helps slow down the browning process. We can also smear the apple with lemon immediately after peeling and drops some lemon juice on the chopped apple quarters.

Preboiling and Sweetening

Before putting the apples into jars, we preboil them to be semi-soft. We use a little basket to scald them in hot water or we simply put them in hot water and boil for 2 or 3 minutes. We pre boil the fruits in water with citric acid or in pure water. Fruits well preboiled are glassy and flexible. We use the water in which we boiled the fruits to make a sugar solution. Remove the preboiled apples from their bath and let them cool down on a tray.

When the fruits have cooled down a little we sweeten it by pouring sugar solution over it. We prepare the solution from the water we used to boil the fruit and we add 200-300 g of sugar per one litre of water. We can decrease the dose of sugar down to 50g. We use fine sugar to make the solution as it is well soluble in water. We boil the solution shortly and skim the foam. We pour the solution over fruits while it is still hot or warm.

Choosing the Jars

Before using them, we wash both jars and their lids in hot water with soda, rinse them with clear water and we let them air-dry. We fill the jars with hot water that we drain shortly before filling them. We fill them with pre-boiled sweetened apples. Be careful not to fill the jars too full; make the level approximately 1 cm under the edge, then pour hot sugar solution into the filled jar.

Preservation

Preservation is boiling the kompot at 75-85°C which will destroy all harmful organisms. We use a preserving pot or a regular pot. When boiling, hot air escapes the jar and presses the lid onto the rubber seal located between the lid and the jar. Therefore, the lid sticks firmly and prevents exterior air from getting into the jar and protecting its contents from contamination.

We put the jars onto the pad in the preserving pot and pour them with water almost to the top. We lid the pot and insert a thermometer. At the moment when the pot reaches the required temperature, we note the time. After the finished preservation, we remove the lid and let everything cool down for 3 minutes. Then we remove the jars, place them on the table and place kitchen cold wet cloths on them. That will prevent the fruits from getting too soft and losing colour.

Storage

We store jars with preserved fruits in dry dark places.

Serving

We serve kompots as side-dishes to meat, suitable main dishes and to desserts but also as desserts after the main dish. The actual kompot served with biscuits makes a wonderful dessert. We can also pour vanilla pudding over apple kompot, decorate kompots with cherries, grated ginger-bread, cinnamon... However, kompots are not the only way to preserve apples.

Other Apple Recipes Based on Kompots and Preserved Apples

Grated Apples in a Jar (for making Strudel)

Peel the apples, remove their stems and cores, grate them, put them into jars (squish as much apple mixture into a jar as possible) and cover with sugar. You don't even need a preserving pot to preserve them. Place the closed jars into a deep baking tray filled with water, put them in the oven heated to 200°C and bake for about half an hour. Then let the jars cool down and store them. You can use the grated apples all year long to make strudel, apple desserts and cakes.

Apple Kompot with Ginger

To prepare this kompot, we need: 1 kg apples, 1 fresh ginger, 3 lemons, raisins and gelling sugar (ca 1 kg)

Peel the apples and remove stems and cores, chop them into quarters and into small pieces. Peel the ginger and chop it finely. Squeeze the lemons and submerge raisins into water. Put the preserving sugar, the chopped ginger, the lemon juice and pieces of apples into a pot. Make the mixture warm up under constant stirring and let it boil for 4 minutes. Wash the jars with hot water and fill them with kompot. Close the jars up, turn them upside down and let them cool down for at least 15 minutes. Store in a cool dry dark place.

Apple Kompot from Ancient Bohemia

Place apples chopped into quarters into prepared jars. Add lukewarm sugar solution and a clove and a piece of cinnamon and a slice of lemon (the skin needs to be washed properly) into each jar. We close up the jars and preserve the kompot at 85°C for 15-20 minutes.

Grandma's Simple Winter Apple Kompot

We can make it from fresh apples, in this case we may even use the fallen ugly apples, or from a prepared apple kompot.

We take a pot with sugar and add the prepared kompot or apples without stems and cores and chopped into eighths. We may also add pears or a pear kompot. Then we add one or two cinnamon sticks, two to three cloves, sugar to taste, lemon or a piece of lime, raisins and a few peeled almonds. We pour water over the mixture and we eat it while it's still warm. This particular food is very popular with children. We can add a bit of rum or other alcohol into it to attract the adults as well. The kompot is very tasty even cold.

Apple Jam

We can process lower-quality apples into apple jam. Per 500 g of peeled apples, we need 700 g sugar, a piece of vanilla, a cinnamon stick and clove. We divide the apples into two groups. We peel the first group of apples, remove their stems and cores and chop them up. We chop up the second group including the skin and cores, bast it with a bit of water and stew them in a closed pot until they turn into a mash. Then, we press the mash. We weigh the apple purée and put it into a pot together with the better part of the peeled apples and seasonings. We boil the mixture until it thickens. Then, we gradually add sugar and we boil the rest of the apples for another 3-5 minutes. When the jam starts to turn to jelly, we remove the seasonings and pour the jam into prepared jars. We close the jars, turn them upside down and let them cool down. Store in a cool dark place.

Apple Jam with Ginger

The preparation is similar to the preparation of apple jam. However, the ingredients are different. We need one ginger, juice from a lemon or two, raisins and a kilo of preserving sugar per one kilo of peeled and processed apples. We chop the apples and the ginger into pieces. We submerge the raisins in water, then let them dry off and we put them into a pot together with the preserving sugar and other ingredients. We make the mixture boil and let it boil for 4 minutes. We put the finished jam into jars, turn them upside down and let them cool down. Store in a cool dark place.

Apple Marmalade

Marmalade is usually of thicker consistency then jam and it contains more dietary fibre. We make apple purée by chopping washed unpeeled apples with their cores into pieces, basting them with a bit of water and stew them in a pot until they turn soft, which usually takes about 15 minutes. We press the apple matter through a sieve or blend it in a fruit blender and we put the apple purée into a pot where we boil the water away for 10 minutes. We add a quarter of the sugar dose and keep boiling, we add the rest of the sugar after 5 minutes and finally we add the citric acid. As soon as the marmalade starts to turn into jelly, we pour it into jars, close them up, but them upside down and let them cool down

Apple Chocolate Based on Nutella

Peel the apples and remove their cores, blend them in a fruit blender and let them boil with sugar (one third of the sugar weight per full weight of apples). Gradually add pieces of chocolate and cocoa into the hot mixture. Mix everything well together and pour into jars. Preserve at 80°C for 20 minutes.

Apple Chutney

To prepare apple chutney, we need: 1 tbs salt, 1 tbs hot paprika, half a spoon of curry, 5 - 6 cloves of garlic, half a spoon of ginger, 3 dcl water, 3 dcl vinegar and 3 tbs raisins per 1 kg of peeled apples with cores removed.

Slice the apples, add the seasoning and garlic. Boil everything in a large pot, add the sugar, vinegar and raisins. Keep the mixture boiling for a bit and then put it into jars. Preserve at 80°C for 20 minutes.

Apple Baby Snack

Wash the apples and stew them in a bit of water until they soften. Remove the cores earlier or during straining the apples through a fine strainer. Mix the apple matter with prepared vanilla pudding and sugar with a bit of cinnamon. Put a few drops of lemon juice on the mixture, let it boil for a little while, pour into jars and preserve. Store in a cool dark place. Thus we make a healthy snack food that not only children enjoy.

Do you also have your reliable recipe for apple preservation? Share your tips with us in the discussion under the article.


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