Our russet apple tree is loaded with blossom this year; we had a good show last year, but the weather knocked it off and there weren’t many insects about because it was cold and miserable. This year we have had plenty of sunny days, quite warm, but very cold nights which apparently blossom likes and it’s stayed on the tree. We’ve had quite a bit of rain too, but mainly at night, so I reckon we should be in for a good crop of apples, especially as there are a lot of insects around this year, hover-flies, bees, bumblebees, all good for pollination!
So, thinking ahead, I wonder what I should do with the bounteous crop I’m expecting? A few years ago when we had more than we could eat I dried apple rings, and they were delicious and lasted really well.
Russets are my favourite kind of apple with a very distinctive rough skin and I like its texture, although some people prefer a smooth apple. They are called ‘russet’ because of their skin, russeting is its texture, and there are many different varieties. They have a wonderful perfume and an even more wonderful flavour; however if we have hundreds of them we can’t possibly munch our way through them all, even though they keep well.
I’ve found lots of recipes specifying russet apples, mostly because of their sweetness, good flavour and the texture of their skin; one I liked which was so simple was slices of russets with slices of toasted Gouda cheese, served simply with crusty bread – her was an option for onion but I wasn’t sure if apple and onion work together, maybe they do! perhaps I should try! Russets are good for eating, juice, baking, or making into cider! I wish I liked cider!
There is a lovely recipe here for a compote: http://www.britishlarder.co.uk/russet-apple-compote/#axzz3YnR1F584
- 500g russet apples, peeled and cored (I wonder what it would be like with the peel which has such a wonderful flavour? As it is to be blended at the end maybe it would work – or maybe it wouldn’t!!)
- 50g honey – would maple syrup work? It’s worth a try!
- 50ml cold water
- 50g unsalted butter
- vanilla pod seeds (scraped) – I guess you could use a vanilla alternative such as essence or paste
- Heat half the butter in a pan and when bubbling add the apples, honey and vanilla
- Cook for a couple of minutes, add the water, turn down the heat down and simmer, cover and cook for another ten minutes, stirring if necessary
- Take the pan from the heat and add the remaining butter, cut into pieces, and stir gently until it has all melted
- Blend everything until it is really smooth and then put into really clean sterilised jars as you would for any jam or preserve
- It will keep in the fridge for about two weeks .