Volunteering Weekend Saturday 19th/Sunday 20th September

Pauly picking apples! And only 3 1/2 too!
Pauly picking apples! And only 3 1/2 too!

Hi all

We have some early apples to pick from our trees at Northfields allotments, so if you have any free time over this weekend why not drop me a line and let me know your availability. It doesn’t matter if you only have an hour, there’s still a lot of picking that can be done in this amount of time! Email Diane at wenabundance@gmail.com

Advertisements

Volunteering day at our Orchard in Walmer Gardens – Saturday 26th September

Due toHyacinthoides_non-scripta_(Common_Bluebell) the success of our clear up days we are holding another one on Saturday 26th September from 10am – 12pm.  This time we are going to be planting some spring bulbs to help attract the bees (Ealing Transition have their beehives at the back of the Orchard)

Walmer Gardens Map (head for the entrance to April Cottage, it looks like you are walking up the drive and then turn left.  The Orchard is enclosed in fencing)

If you are free then come along to Walmer Gardens with your garden gloves, secateurs and/or loppers. Clearing is quite hard work and only suitable for children over the age of 12. Please contact Diane Gill on wenabundance@gmail.com or 07736857700 for further information, otherwise we will see you there on the day!
If you can’t help with clearing, but have a car and would be willing to take garden rubbish to the dump please contact me or turn up at the Orchard on the day.

We are also looking for more expert volunteers, so if you know a bit about apples/pears and could help with picks in the next couple of weeks please email me.

Many thanks and hope to see you on the day!

Diane

WEN Abundance

A Successful Orchard Clear Up Day!

IMG_3528IMG_3526IMG_3524

The WEN Abundance team enlisted the help of neighbours living around Walmer Gardens for the first of our monthly clear up days in the council owned Orchard  we look after.  We cut down nettles, Ivy, elder and grass over a couple of hours and took a lot of rubbish to the dump too!  With a handful of people it is amazing what can be achieved.  There’s more to do over the summer months so if you fancy getting a bit of exercise in a beautiful location, whilst doing some good then contact Diane Gill on wenabundance@gmail.com to get involved in these clear ups.

The following dates are planned all from 10am – 12pm: Saturday 18th July Saturday 22nd August Saturday 26th September.

Cottage Apple Chutney

 Ingredients

1.5 k of cooking apples

500g of onions

200g sultanas (green or golden)

2 un-waxed lemons

500ml of cider vinegar

400g of Demerara sugar

1 ½ tablespoons of Cottage spices

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

Spice mix

1 tsp ground Allspice

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

pinch of ground cloves (optional)

½  tablespoon mustard seed

¼  teaspoon sea salt (optional)

(1 teaspoon ground ginger if not using fresh ginger)

 

Wash, peel and core the apples and finely chop (quarter to half an inch square)

Peel and very finely chop the onions.  Thinly slice the lemon and remove the seeds.  Cut the slices into smallish pieces. Try to retain as much of the lemon juice from the chopped lemons as possible.

Add the spices, then the chopped onion, apple, sultanas and lemon to a large heavy based pan.

Add the vinegar and bring slowly to the boil.  Turn down and gently simmer for 10-15 minutes to soften the onion and apple and allow the sultanas to plump up.  Cook longer if there is a lot of liquid.

Add the sugar and stir until all the sugar has dissolved before bringing back to the boil.

Turn down and simmer very gently for at least 90 minutes cooking from this stage to develop flavours.   Stir every now and then to ensure it is not sticking.  (Sultanas BURN very quickly!!)  You will need to stir quite frequently as it thickens and nears completion (gently and slowly move the spoon around the base of the pan taking care not to break the surface of the mixture as it can spit quite violently).  It is ready when you can draw a spoon either across the base of the pan or through a spoonful of mixture on a plate and no watery liquid runs into the trail.  Or simply place a good spoonful of chutney on a plate and see if any liquid seeps out.  If it does, return to the pan and continue cooking.

Bottle in warm sterilised jars (chutney = square 200 jars).  Use a skewer or the thin handle of a long spoon, to remove the bubbles from the jar mixture.  Fill the jars to the base of the neck and add just a little more (½ teaspoon) as the mixture might shrink slightly when it cools.  Seal while hot.  Label when cold and store in a cool dark place.  Keep for a few months before opening to allow the flavours to develop.  Once open, store in a refrigerator.  It can be kept for 12-18 months.

Tips and tricks to avoid problems:

If after the sugar has been added, there seems to be an excess of liquid, simmer rapidly for a short period to remove some of the liquid.  Do not wait till the end as it will simply burn.  Extra liquid can come from  fruit which is very juicy/ripe.   Comic pears can be very juicy.

However, be careful not to remove too much liquid as the chutney needs to cook for at least 90 minutes after the sugar has been added to enable the flavours to mingle.  It is surprising how much liquid does evaporate at even a low cooking temperature.

Chutney is a balance of small soft pieces of fruit within a thickened sauce.  Be careful that all the fruit is not the type that does not breakdown.  If this happens you end up with pieces of fruit and a thin liquid which is never going to make a chutney.  I keep some “fluffed” apple – sort of pureed apple in the freezer so that I can add the odd spoon to thicken the liquid if this happens.  I freeze this as ice cubes as these are easier to incorporate from frozen.  If I am batch making over a few days and know I will need the apple, I make the pureed apple and keep in the fridge.   I tend to add in the last half hour of cooking.

Do NOT guess when the chutney looks ready.  Test and test again to ensure it is.  When cold, the chutney should be “set” but not hard.

Recipe courtesy of Elizabeth Highton – WEN Abundance chutney expert!

WEN Spicy Apple Chutney

Ingredients

1.5 k of cooking apples

500g of onions

200g sultanas (green or golden)

Zest and juice of 1 unwaxed lemon

500ml of white wine vinegar

500g of Demerara sugar

1 ½ tablespoons of Baharat spices + pinch of cayenne pepper.  (Supermarkets and specialists shops sell Baharat spice mix eg Barts Spice

Wash, peel and core the apples and finely chop.  If the skins are unblemished and pale in colour then do not bother peeling.

Peel and very finely chop the onions.  Zest and juice the lemon.

Put in the spices, add the chopped onion, apple, sultanas and lemon zest in a heavy based pan.  Add the vinegar plus the lemon juice and bring slowly to the boil.  Turn down and gently simmer for 10-15 minutes to soften the onion and apple and allow the sultanas to plump up.

Add the sugar and stir until all the sugar has dissolved before bringing back to the boil.

Turn down and simmer very gently for at least 90 minutes cooking from this stage to develop flavours.   Stir every now and then to ensure it is not sticking.  (Sultanas BURN very quickly!!)  You will need to stir quite frequently as it thickens and nears completion (gently and slowly move the spoon around the base of the pan taking care not to break the surface of the mixture as it can spit quite violently).  It is ready when you can draw a spoon either across the base of the pan or through a spoonful of mixture on a plate and no watery liquid runs into the trail.

Bottle in warm sterilised jars (chutney = square 200 jars).  Use a skewer or the thin handle of a long spoon, to remove the bubbles from the jar mixture.  Fill the jars to the base of the neck and add just a little more as the mixture might shrink slightly when it cools.  Seal while hot.  Label when cold and store in a cool dark place.  Keep for a few months before opening to allow the flavours to develop.  Once open, store in a refrigerator.  It can be kept for 12-18 months.

Tips and tricks to avoid problems:

If after the sugar has been added, there seems to be an excess of liquid, simmer rapidly for a short period to remove some of the liquid.  Do not wait till the end as it will simply burn.  Extra liquid can come from  fruit which is very juicy/ripe.

However, be careful not to remove too much liquid as the chutney needs to cook for at least  90 minutes after the sugar has been added to enable the flavours to mingle.  It is surprising how much liquid does evaporate at even a low cooking temperature.

Chutney is a balance of small soft pieces of fruit within a thickened sauce.  Be careful that all the fruit is not the type that does not breakdown.  If this happens you end up with pieces of fruit and a thin liquid which is never going to make a chutney.  I keep some “fluffed” apple – sort of pureed apple in the freezer so that I can add the odd spoon to thicken the liquid if this happens.  I freeze this as ice cubes as these are easier to incorporate from frozen.  If I am batch making over a few days and know I will need the apple, I make the pureed apple and keep in the fridge.   I tend to add in the last half hour of cooking.  I also cut down the amount of apple that I have added at the beginning.

Recipe courtesy of Elizabeth Highton – WEN Abundance chutney maker extraordinare!

Fancy yourself as an Inventor?

The London Orchard Project is looking for someone to design and make a new pedal-powered apple crusher for easy juicing of urban apples.

This is an exciting opportunity to create a really useful product that does not currently exist. The crusher will be used by us and community groups across London harvesting and juicing local fruit.  It’s a great opportunity to be part of the future of local fruit production and processing in our wonderful city.

Background

Apple juicing is a 2-stage process.  First the apples need to be crushed to a pulp, then they are pressed to get the juice.

Small scale community apple juice producers using hand-operated crushers know through bitter experience that the crushing stage is slow, dull and blister-inducing.  There are electric crushers available, but these are too expensive for small voluntary groups, require a power source (not always available at outdoor events) and conflict with the low carbon/ off the grid ethos of small-scale community food production.

The Vigo website shows the crushers currently available on the market with some useful videos of how these work:

http://www.vigopresses.co.uk/store/index.php?cPath=63_77

The brief

They are looking for an intermediate technology apple crusher: faster and easier to use than existing hand-operated crushers, but without need for electricity.

The ideal crusher would be:

  • Pedal powered
  • Transportable- ideally readily attachable to a bike
  • Safe to use- has a mechanism that ensure apples only get crushed (no fingers in our juice!)
  • Quick – a small electric crusher by comparison can crush up to 1,000kg of apples per hour (but it doesn’t need to achieve aquite these volumes!)
  • Effective – reducing the apples to a fine pulp for optimum juice pressing
  • Very sturdy- it will be used by many groups across London
  • Using reclaimed materials where possible
  • Easy to repair
  • Looks cool! (the most discerning teenager will be keen to give it a go)
  • Replicable

Ideally (but not necessarily), you’d be up for sharing the design with other groups who may want to make their own.

Prize and Budget

They have a £200 prize for the person who makes us the crusher.  And you’ll get the satisfaction of knowing your creation is being put to good use and enjoyed by 1000s of Londoners.  And they will make sure to spread the word about the brains behind the crusher.

In addition, they anticipate the budget for materials to be in the region of £200-£400 (but are still very keen to see cheaper or more expensive designs)

To take up the challenge…

If you are interested or have any questions, please contact orchard@thelondonorchardproject.org outlining:

  • Your initial design
  • Relevant experience in designing, making or working with similar machines
  • Budget breakdown for the work

Closing dates for entries is 20th July. The winner will be announced on 25th July.

They would like the crusher on 31st August at the latest, ready for the harvesting season

More about The London Orchard Project at www.thelondonorchardproject.org

WEN Christmas Jelly Marmalade

This is a NEW recipe, ideal for Xmas and sold really well at the recent St James craft fair.

Ingredients:

1.5kg crab apples, quartered and sliced
2 large oranges finely sliced
12 cloves
½ stick cinnamon
2 star anise
2 inches fresh ginger, scraped and thinly sliced
Sugar – use 400g for every 500ml of strained liquid
1 tblsp orange Liqueur. (optional)

Prepare the apples and oranges. There is no need to peel or core them, include all.
Place the spices and ginger in a heavy based pan, add the prepared fruit on top and then add enough water to cover.
Bring to the boil and simmer gently, covered, for about 45-60 minutes so all the fruit has softened and become pulpy. Avoid unnecessarily stirring or mashing the fruit as it could make the liquid cloudy. If necessary press gently with the back of a large spoon.

Strain in a jelly bag or through a J cloth, preferably overnight. Do not press or squeeze the bag or the jelly will become cloudy.

Measure the liquid and return to a clean pan. Measure the sugar as per the ratio above and add to the warmed liquid. Gently stir until completely dissolved. Bring the mixture to the boil, uncovered, and continue till setting point is reached, usually under 10 minutes. (See ‘how to make the perfect jam’ for instructions on testing setting point)

Skim off any scum. Pour into warmed sterilised jars and cover. Label when cold. Keeps for 12 months in a cool dark place. Once opened store in a refrigerator.

Tips:
1. You can substitute cooking apples for crab apples or use a mix of crab and cooking apples.
2. Clementines or tangerines can be an alternative for the oranges.
3. To use a J cloth to strain the liquid, drape over a large colander over a basin. When most of the immediate liquid has run
through, you can tie the four corners together and hang from a hook on a cupboard door handle and let to drip over night.
Take care when tying the corners to gently ease the J cloth into shape without disturbing the pulp too much.
4. Jelly bags are available from cook shops or on line.

What a brilliant day at West Ealing Family Day!

Wow what a great day today! We sold over 100 cups of our freshly pressed apple juice and all my 50 toffee apples were sold! We had loads of volunteers chopping, pressing, straining, selling, leafleting, chatting, laughing and generally enjoying themselves! Here are some pictures of the event, I’ll post more over the next few days.

Conrad pressing apples and junior helpers!
Onlookers keen to see what we were doing with our apples!
The kids were having a great time trying out our apples press!
Like our new logo and banner?!
Crowds milling around the stall and buying our delicious apples juice too!