My Mummy is really green-fingered. I mean, seriously. Here is her garden, she grows flowers here:
…and here is her allotment, where she grows vegetables.
Gorgeous, aren’t they?
Sadly, however, Mummy’s talent for growing stuff doesn’t seem to be genetic.
I feel, therefore, that I ought not to attempt to broach the subject of gardening matters. So, Mummy has kindly agreed to advise us on all things green-fingered, in this case a nifty idea for using leftover apples to kill our winter colds stone dead!
Perhaps, if I pay close attention, my talents might improve until one day they resemble hers. (Well, I can live in hope, can’t I?)
On one of the coldest, darkest, bleakest days of last winter, its miseries compounded by the unspeakable awfulness of the common cold, I remembered the portion of left-over stewed apple in my freezer. Never has food felt so comforting, healing and jolly well good for you!
With that in mind, I rolled up my sleeves yesterday to freeze down some of our apples.
I can’t tell you what variety they are; all I know is that the tree was here when we moved into our home twenty-five years ago, and that when the ’87 hurricane blew it down it responded by lying prone for about a metre and then growing upwards again! Even at its advanced age it still grows a good metre a year if I let it, and its crop varies from 2 to 100+ apples.
However, many of them are damaged, partly because I garden organically and mostly because I’m pretty scatty and forget things like grease bands and codling moth traps most years.
I’m happy to share my produce with blackbirds, thrushes, hedgehogs, wasps, earwigs and assorted bugs and grubs, plus Jessica Rabbit and the guinea-pigs and, as a last resting place, the compost heap – but there are still many which look almost good enough to eat but have some flaw which means they won’t keep.
Yesterday I picked (and picked up!) about 60 apples and first of all, gave them a good wash. Here’s a tip I discovered – wash them under a strong hose jet and nearly all the creepy-crawlies, plus a lot of the rotten bits, will be washed off for you!
Having set aside the twenty or so perfect apples, I peeled the rest and cut out all the cores, bruises and generally yucky bits (perfect for compost!), cut what was left into roughly equal lumps and simmered them for twenty minutes in about half a litre of water into which I had stirred the juice of a lemon, a tablespoon of sugar (these are sweet eating apples – you’d need a lot more sugar for cookers), a tablespoon of ground cinnamon and a teaspoon of ground cloves.
After leaving it all to cool overnight, I’ve just put it in the freezer – six very generous portions of apple, bursting with sunshine and vitamins, for next time the dreaded cold strikes!!
So, that’s the end of our guest post. Thank you, Mummy, and hopefully there will be lots more green-fingered advice where that came from!
See you tomorrow.
Do you have any questions you’d like answered? Ever wondered how to make a bed properly, how to cook easy bread from scratch, how to make the perfect cake, how to get tough stains out easily and quickly? My friends, I am rubbish at many things but due to a strange addiction to Mrs Beeton in my early teens and a very accomplished group of friends and family, I have access to a fairly sizeable amount of domestic knowledge. Test me – send me your domestic conundrums and we will see what we can do!