It is apple season, it’s apples galore here at Fields Lodge and we have apple chutney coming out of our ears. We have 2 apple trees in our garden, one struggling to beat the elements in the rear garden, getting battered by the prevailing winds, with no shelter, and another, nicely nestled in amongst way too many shrubs. One of it’s roots got upturned when it fell following some wind, but it’s recovered, and although the quite substantial root is exposed, and really a bit of a trip hazard(thankfully, it’s not a used pathway), the tree has rallied and bears ever such a lot of fruit.
Then at the bottom of our lane (there are only 3 houses on our lane which goes down to the creek), we have our neighbours at Beacon Hill, who seem to have an endless supply of apples at this time of year, and any surplus they have, end up at the back door of Fields Lodge. It’s not so much a tooth fairy that delivers them but an ‘apple fairy’! Quite often I come back from my daily shopping to find another delivery. Infact, we’re finding it hard to keep on top of them!
I love using produce from our doorstep, there’s something about homegrown, no chemicals, just good clear salty sea air and our very lovely red earth, particular to Sandy Haven. They make for an excellent ingredient with which to start any number of recipes.
We are presently making Apple Chutney to go as an accompaniment to our Welsh Rarebit breakfast dish. As you know, if you are a regular reader, I am not a fan of the white stuff known as sugar, and so I do try to utilise something a bit more healthy, as I think it’s pretty well known now that sugar is not at all good for you-no nutrients at all, loads of calories and pretty addictive. There is much debate as to what is the best thing to use, I think pretty much everyone says that stevia is ok, but I find it leaves me with a ‘sweetener’ aftertaste and I find it burns in cooking quite easily. What I have trialled in our apple chutney recipe is Xylitol, derived from the bark of the birch tree. You can pretty much use it as a direct substitute for sugar and it apparently doesn’t raise blood sugar levels. The only downside to using this, is it costs a fortune when compared to sugar-43p versus £12!. So, I am making a very expensive batch of apple chutney, but I just can’t bring myself to use sugar.
I will try a batch made with dates as the sugar substitute next, but of course, these are high in sugars, but at least they’re natural and you will be getting the fibre from the fruit also. Plus also, with the apples and the raisins, there’s already plenty of sugars in there!
So, if you’d like my current recipe:
2Kg Apples, peeled, cored and cubed
750g Xylitol (or sugar/sugar substitute)
2 Onions finely chopped
2 tsp mustard seeds
2 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp salt
700ml Cider Vinegar
It’s dead simple-put it all in a pot bring to the boil and then simmer for about 20 minutes or until the apples are soft. Leave to cool and then decant into sterilised jars. Then enjoy!
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