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Seasonal Ingredient: Apples

Everything you need to know about this gorgeous fruit.

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When autumn arrives, it brings a bounty of amazing produce with it, including apples, which are one of our favourite seasonal ingredients. 

In our What's In Season Guide for October, we took a look at the various ingredients that are at their best right now. Apples are one of those ingredients, perfectly ripe and full of flavour throughout October and autumn. 

An Apple A Day...

Apples are one of the most popular fruits in the world with almost 125,000 tonnes eaten per year in the UK alone each year. The sweet fruit is thought to have originated in Central Asia, before being brought further afield by traders. It wasn't until the 17th century that apples, which are widely associated with American food, were brought to the Americas by colonisers, with the first orchard reportedly planted in Boston in 1625. 

Apples have long been associated with a healthy diet and were used for medicinal purposes in ancient civilisations. To this day, it seems that the saying "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" actually rings true as studies have found that eating an apple a day can help to drastically reduce levels of cholesterol in middle-aged adults, as well help to prevent strokes.

In terms of nutrition, apples really are a great addition to any diet. They're extremely low in calories, high in fibre and a great source of vitamin C. While many people, particularly children, might prefer their apples peeled, most of the fibre is stored in and around the apple's skin so make sure to keep it on.

Cooking With Apples

Apples are an extremely versatile ingredient and can be used in a variety of dishes, both sweet and savoury. Chefs are known to add some sliced apple to sauces, like tomato ketchup or gravy, to add a layer of sweetness to their dishes. 

Apples also work extremely well with a variety of different meats, especially pork, and different types of game. One of our favourite ways to use apple is in a savoury purée and pair it with pork belly and crispy crackling. 

We have absolutely heaps of apple recipes on the site, so there are lots for you to choose from if you want to try cooking with apples. However, some of our favourites include Edward Hayden's gorgeous toffee apple muffins, baked apple Charlottes and the ultimate apple pie recipe, which was given to us by the O'Connells of Cullahill. 

Apple And Blackberry Jam

Apple and blackberry jam is one of our favourite recipes as it perfectly combines two perfectly in-season ingredients for October.

Makes about 2kg jam

  • 1kg cooking apples, peeled, cored and diced
  • 250ml water
  • 150ml lemon juice
  • 1kg blackberries
  • 1.2kg sugar

Method:

  1. Add the apples and water to a pot, bring to the boil and simmer until soft.
  2. Then, add the lemon juice and blackberries. Cook for five minutes. 
  3. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Bring to the boil, then simmer for about half an hour.
  4. Test if the jam has reached setting point by placing on a cool saucer and leaving for a few minutes. If it wrinkles when touched, it's perfect. If not, cook longer and repeat the process. 
  5. Cool for about 15 minutes, then transfer to sterilised jars.