Grans Bottled Apple
Gran was actually the late Jean Francis, my brother in law’s mum, and was affectionately known as “Aunty Gran” to my kids. Grans bottled apple is legendary throughout the family. While it is essentially just stewed apple, Aunty Grans’ is the best. She swore by a combination of cooking apples for their fluffy texture and eating apples for their superior sweetness and flavour.
Prepare the jars and seals
To fill a standard large preserving jar you will need around 1 kg of fruit.
Sterilise the jars you intend to use by placing them in an oven heated to 120°C for at least 15 minutes. Keep them in the oven at a low heat till required.Prepare seals by soaking in boiling water till flexible. The seals should have a plastic lining on the inside. If re using old ones discard any that have rust spots.
Prepare the apples
- Cooking apples – granny smiths are probably the most readily available
- Eating apples – whatever is around
- Use 1 eating apple to around 4 cooking apples – but make lots!
- Sugar and spices optional
Allow 1 eating apple to every 4 cooking apples
To cook and bottle the fruit
Peel, core and slice the apples – use a processor for slicing if you have one and then place the apples with a dash of water in a large saucepan. The water is simply to stop the apples from sticking and burning on the bottom of the pan before they have a chance to release their own juices and begin to cook.
Stir the apples frequently, simmering them gently. When they are soft, use a potato masher to pulp them into a smooth, sauce like consistency.
Check the sweetness and add sugar, only if needed, to your taste. Bottle while piping hot – see below.
To bottle place a hot sterilised jar into a heat proof dish and fill with hot apple right to the brim, slip a long flexible knife down the insides of the jar to release air bubbles then quickly top up with a little extra apple or a drop of boiling water and place on a seal so that when you press the seal down, excess apple or water flows down the sides of the jar pushing out any air. Keeping pressure on top of the seal so no air gets in, screw the screw band into place and set aside to cool. For details on bottling see “How to Preserve Stone fruit”.
As littlies our kids ate Grans apple by the gallon, on porridge, for desserts, breakfast and as a healthy comfort food – a bowl of warmed apple with a dollop of fruit yoghurt slips easily down a sore throat and will gently fill a sore tummy.
Grans’ apple can also be frozen.Trouble shooting
If your seal does not form a vacuum when cool the filling was not hot enough. Remove seal and reheat in boiling water, place the full jar in the microwave and heat till filling is boiling hot. Pour boiling water into the top of the jar until it overflows (yes over the top of the existing fruit and syrup, you are just topping up and ensuring a good seal). Replace the seal in the manner described above.
It is unlikely that you will have exactly the right quantity of fruit to perfectly fill all your jars to the brim. I invariably find I have a half jar that needs to be stored in the fridge.