I picked out a number of recipes and decided on this one (in Swedish), as it didn't involve freezing in the end. Freezing is the thing it seems, even my Mum does it - she saves milk cartons, washes them and fills them up with the puree, then freezes the whole lot.
cooking apples - resulting in 1.5 kg after peeling and removing damaged bits.
1.5 dl water
2 g vitamin C powder (ascorbic acid)
1.5 dl maple syrup
0.5 dl caster sugar
5 cm long cinnamon sticks, one for each jar.
- 1.5 kg apples will result in approximately 1 litre of puree, so get a sufficient number of glass jars and place in the oven and "bake" at 120 degrees for at least 20 minutes, to sterilise them.
- Wash, peel and core the apples, removing any damaged bits you can find. Put the pieces in a big bowl of water so they don't discolour.
- Place the apples in a saucepan, add the water, put a lid on and let simmer for 10 minutes, until they go a bit mushy.
- At this point, one or more large saucepans or casserole dishes are needed, large enough to take in the glass jars. Line them with a towel, pour in water and bring to the boil.
- When the apples are done, drain away the water, then mash up with a fork or a blender. It doesn't have to be perfectly smooth.
- Stir in the vitamin C powder, maple syrup and sugar. Note that the maple syrup is mainly to add to the flavour and the sugar is to provide the sweetness. The amounts should be varied to taste.
- Now take out the glass jars and fill up with the apple puree, leaving about 2 cm from the top edge of each jar.
- Place the jars in the saucepans with boiling water, the water should reach about three quarters of the height of the jars. Then let simmer for at least 20 minutes.
- Check the jar lids that they have been sucked in and formed a vacuum. If not, let simmer for a bit longer.
- Take out of the saucepans, then let cool and label up. Of course if you can't be bothered with this, just let cool after stirring in the sugar, pour into freezable boxes or bags and freeze.
Push a cinnamon stick into the middle of each jar, then put on the lid and screw it shut, but not too tightly.
The proportions are 1 kg apples to 1 dl of water to 1 g of vitamin C powder. I just used 2 g as my scales can't do half gram measurements. The purpose of it is as antioxidant to prevent discolouring, I think.
Some of the recipes also called for Sodium Benzoate, also known as E211, which is a food preservative. I'm not sure if this can be purchased in shops though.
One recipe mentioned adding Calvados. I've never had that, so I don't know what it tastes like. I couldn't think of any other spirit/liqueur that might taste nice with apples, but decided to add maple syrup instead of just regular sugar and I think that works very nicely indeed. I have some doubts about a whole cinnamon stick in a jar, that might ruin everything, so will come back with an update in a few weeks' time when I've opened the puree.
As you can see in the photos, I filled two half litre jars and I had about 3 more dl, two of which I put in a glass and one I gave to Lundulph to eat. The glass didn't go into the boiling saucepan, so it's now in the fridge and should last at least one week. One of the two jars sealed up nicely after 20 minutes (the one with the green lid). The other took a further 33 minutes and some additional lid tightening and it still hadn't been sucked in. But it was nearing bedtime, so I took it out and set it to cool. After about half an hour, I noticed that the lid had been sucked in. Just to be on the safe side, I've put it in the fridge. The green lidded jar is in the larder, it should last longer hopefully.
On the whole, this recipe appealed (appled, hi, hi) to me because of the way the jars were sealed. I have vague memories of my Mum and Gran doing this on my Grandparents' allotment, where all sorts of fruits and vegetables were done that way in preparation for the Winter.