Friday, 12 August 2011

Should I Change My Name To Edna?


On the left, Edna Krabappel, Bart Simpson’s teacher – on the right, the tiny crab apple tree which is in the Cornerstones garden. The latter was a gift from Liz, soon after we bought this place [she won it but had no garden in which to plant it… long story, don’t ask!]

“Maybe by the time we retire, the tree will bear fruit, and I must learn to make crab apple jelly” I said to Bob. At the beginning of the week, I acquired some windfall apples [outside neighbour’s place – huge tray, with sign saying ‘help yourself’] Then we picked some windfall cherry plums from the heath at the other end of the village – and a few more wild apples. So I picked up some Tala preserving jars and an inexpensive jam funnel, in The Range.jam funneltala jars

Then yesterday, on our way back from Cromer, we called in on the family. My niece Lucy had been out on her bike and seen a chap giving away carrier bags of windfall crab apples – so she’d taken one for her Mum. But Marion said she really didn’t have time, and no jam jars either [they are moving shortly, so she is decluttering] Could I make use of them? Now you know me, I cannot bear food going to waste.

  • Problem 1 – I have never made crab apple jelly in my life – will the Internet supply good recipes?
  • Problem 2- the stool I use as a jelly bag support is miles away – how can I improvise?
  • Problem 3 – I need to get some more sugar – is Tesco’s shut?

But I refuse to let trivia like that get me down – we left my SIL and shot off to Tesco’s to buy sugar. Last night I checked up on recipes, considered my provisions, and now I have the following neatly lined up in the kitchen.

Two 1kg jars of bottled cherry plums [don’t you just love the red and gold colours?]


Two 500g jars of crab-apple chutney [also containing apples, plums and balsamic vinegar]


A jar and a half of crab apple jelly [around 650g]


And a HUGE 2kg jar of apple sauce


These have all been duly preserved in the pressure cooker. I do not have a proper freezer here – and this way they should all keep well.

I have to say that actually I was not over-thrilled with the whole crab apple process. There were lots of very bruised, wormy ones which needed discarding – and the chutney recipe said ‘peel and dice’ The fruits were very small [same size and smaller than the cherry plums] It took ages to prepare them. My original 3kg bag of crab apples only yielded about 1.5kg of usable fruit. Meanwhile, Bob had a bath, and watched Torchwood, and I was still in the kitchen, working, and listening to the radio.

I strained the fruit through a new cotton tea towel draped in a colander balanced over my largest bowl – and this morning boiled up the resulting liquid in my big casserole pan. I was pleased with its jewel-like clarity though!


I haven’t spent a lot on ingredients – just the sugar - I had a lemon and an onion, and vinegar etc in the cupboard. The jars will be reusable. But if I had been paid for my time in the kitchen, these are pretty costly preserves! However, it will be very satisfying to present Marion with her jars of chutney and jelly tomorrow evening.

So that is why I was Little Miss Busy last night, and today I have been happy to sit around in my pjs all day, alongside…


Does that answer your questions, Mags, aka…



  1. I'm always exhausted after jelly and jam making , and it always goes to admiring friends.

  2. Wow! You are a fast worker! The jars look lovely!

  3. I make crabapple jelly every year and always strain it through big linen teatowels which I hang from the handles of my upper kitchen cupboards!

  4. what a fantastic day's work xx

  5. Funny, funny, Little Mrs Industrious!!

  6. We have a crab apple tree and have been making lots of preserves this week - crab apple butter, chilli jelly and chilli butter, mint jelly, and that's not even starting on the blackberries! Why do they all need dealing with at once? Have to say that I just pull the stalks off and then cut the crab apples in half and half again, and throwing away any segment that looks bad.

  7. Oh Ang, please come and live with me, I need your mojo and a hug!

  8. You really have been Little Miss Busy - and so much to show for your efforts!

  9. Oh the pressure cooker - childhood memories of mayhem and panic in my nana's kitchen! lol!

  10. Sue - thanks for the timesaving tip re crabapple preparation.
    Elizabeth - the cupboards here do not have handles!
    MrsN - I confess that occasionally I DO panic that the PC will explode and spatter the ceiling with pureed fruit
    Jen in the Madhouse - sending big 'virtual' hugs your way, as posting a glass jar of plums would be both expensive and risky.
    Wish you could ALL come round for tea with me

    Thanks for the comments - blogger is playing up again so I am glad yours got through


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