Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Pasteurisation... Wintry Apple Compote

As ‘tis the season of eating all those vittles so lovingly preserved in the height of the harvest season, I thought I’d write a note on Pasteurisation.

Pasteurisation is a means of preserving fruits and veggies in jars.   It slows microbial growth and is particularly useful in storing products of high acidity such as tomatoes and fruits, the results keep for up to a year.  The process simply involves heating the jar containing the product to 72C, keeping it at that temperature for twenty minutes, and then rapidly cooling it. 

Wintry Apple Compote

Chop up a variety of apples, particularly those that don’t keep well, are better cooked than eaten or have a particular flavour.  I like using nutty Egremont Russets and Bramley for the sharpness, this also gives a really nice mix of textures.

Cook gently in a pan, with a little water to prevent burning.  Stir and add grated Root Ginger and a Spice Bag containing Cloves, Mace, Cinnamon sticks and a touch of Star Anise.  If cooked quickly the apples will break down, if simmered very slowly they will retain some of their shape.

Taste for sweetness and add a raw Sugar or Syrup to taste.  Heat, stirring.

Remove Spice Bag and pot in Kilner or Jam Jars rinsed with boiling water to sterilise.

Place the jars in a Water Bath to their necks, bring the water up to 72C and retain at this heat for twenty minutes.  Remove jars and allow to cool rapidly.  The compote will keep like this for up to a year.

Much like Apple Compote, Tomato Pasatas, Ratatouilles, Summer Soups and Stews, Curries and Gruels can be stored like this.  Keep them in a cool, dark place and enjoy when the garden is bare.

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