Day two of my crabapple challenge saw a further load of the orange lads, and also a first pick of the little yellow ones, despatched. As a starting point I separated out the particularly attractive crabapples from my first picking. It was brutal. One small brown spot or an asymmetrical bulge and they were chopped and consigned to the jeelly pan. These were cooked till mushy, then hung up in the jeelly bag to drip.
The alpha crabapples, thus far feeling a bit smug no doubt, were stabbed all over with a darning needle, poached briefly in pickling syrup and then bottled and processed in a water bath. Lyra was underwhelmed by the pickling process and marched out to sit in the porch until the fumes subsided. I remained at my post, inhaled deeply and felt that my tubes had been thoroughly cleared out. Quite what you do with a pickled crabapple remains to be seen. I suppose they will be quite tangy with cheese, but I am also thinking that they might bob in a martini in a rather satisfying way. This will need to be put to the test when David and Karen next visit – they are always up for a cocktail challenge.
Some of the leftover skin, pips and mush from the crabapples was then added to an experimental batch of soap with a good load of cinnamon. I used the juice in the lye mix as well but I suspect this may have scorched as the soap bar came up a treacly colour and has a slightly toffee apple tang. I wonder if this could be resolved by freezing it in the way you do when you are making milk soap? One to ponder. Anyhow, I am leaving it to season and will decide whether I like it after that.
Last but not least, a portion of the jeelly bag juice has been added to a bottle of rum and a cunning blend of spices to mature for a few weeks before further faffing about. (I am essentially adapting a currant shrub recipe for crabapples. If this pans out – I think I will call it Black Pig Brew (after Captain Pugwash’s ship) on account of the rum (and because I was a massive Captain Pugwash fan as a nipper)).
There is still some crabapple jeelly juice left and I am thinking that Ishbel and I might make hedgerow jelly with that and the brambles we gathered yesterday and, if there’s enough, possibly a bottle of apple and bramble cordial.
The trees are still covered so if anyone has any further brainwaves do chip in.