Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Making sugar, part 3.....and kale and apple mountains!

So, this is what that pan of liquid became when boiled down!!! The peg gives you some idea of scale. It tastes great, it is thick and now I have to wait, and wait, and wait until the crystallisation process starts. In industry they use a chemical, milk of lime, to remove impurities and speed up crystallisation.  A friend the other night said that in some of her experiments in uni when growing crystals she introduced one to start the reaction..... Not sure if I can just put some sugar in!!! You can cook with the syrup as it is and indeed one website said that they often used it all up before the crystallisation actually started!!

I did a big harvest of my kale patch the other day and decided to freeze some. I have 4 different sorts of kale growing, this picture shows them all mixed up!

I blanched them in boiling water for about 1 minute, plunged them into the sink full of cold water, then put them out to dry/drain for about an hour.

I then bagged them up into large portions as I always like to make variations of "bubble and squeak" after we have had a pile of veggies and potatoes. Here is an explanation of bubble and squeak for all you who are not in the know and missing out!!

Out on a walk with the dog I came across a tree which still had apples high up in it's branches. The elks had eaten all the lower ones! I went home and made an apple picker and went back and filled up quite a large rucksack with the harvest. Quite unsurprising at this time of year, not all of them were in good condition, but my plan was to make lots of apple pie slices anyway, so bruised bits did not matter as I could cut around them! I used an old pole they used to use for the hay and oats harvest as it was well seasoned (not so heavy!) and trimmed to wood on the end to take the bottle neck.

Here is a close up of my high-tech picker. I am glad that I used the larger of the 2 bottles that I had as the apples proved to be pretty big! It was also great to be able to pluck 3 apples in one lifting of the pole! I used a bit of gaffer tape around the bottle neck, but it probably did not need this as it was pretty tight.

Back in the kitchen the endless apple pealing began! So far here I have a tray of wrapped apples (in the foreground) and bags of apple pie slices in the back. I am only half way through the pile, it seems endless, but at least we will have lots of pies and crumbles over the winter!! I also hope that the apples wrapped in paper (newspaper from 1964!) will last a while and we can have baked apples also....yum!

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