A while ago we visited Stanthorpe on the Granite Belt. In addition to being Queensland’s premiere wine growing region, the cool climate means the area is also well known for fruit growing and in particular, apples. We returned to Brisbane with a mixed case of local apples. Apart from eating the apples as is, one use was in my 5 Ingredient 30 Minute Apple Crumble. The thing about a crumble or almost any apple dish is you end up with a pile of cores and peelings. Sure, you could compost them but there’s life in those scraps yet. How about Apple Scrap Jelly?
Waste Not Want Not
It would be safe to say the food revolution is happening as we speak. It may be learning more about where your produce or groceries are sourced from or how they are made; being more mindful of carbon footprints and local producers; learning about seasonality; or understanding the impacts that intensive production, over production and food waste has on the planet. Food waste is a huge issue for any community, but particularly in developed nations. Imperfect vegetables dumped by the truckload; supermarket lines past their best before dates emptied into industrial bins and even worse, deliberately contaminated so they can’t be rescued; consumers throwing out leftovers or anything over a day old. It’s really shocking when you think that much of the world requires some form of food aid or assistance to ensure they receive at least one meal a day.
The Tiffin’s aren’t living on the breadline by any means but that doesn’t mean we’re not thrifty. We don’t really waste much food at our house. Some of this is because I plan ahead; I’ll happily substitute ingredients for what’s on hand rather than visiting the shop; I’m not too concerned with best by or use by dates and, I will freeze everything. I’m also good at re-purposing. For example, we never have stale bread because it becomes breadcrumbs or crackers. What we can’t eat, we compost via the worm farm or compost heap. So I was very happy when I saw an article about using up apple cores and peels, turning them into an apple scrap jelly. I researched several recipes and have adapted them to Aussie palates with half the sugar than most suggested. The jelly is pectin free too so if you have apple cores and peelings, sugar and lemon juice, you’re set to go.
Apple Scrap Jelly
You may not have 20 or so apple cores all at once so just do what Mr Tiffin and I do and bring your apple cores home from work. Pop them in a zip lock bag in the freezer until you have enough cores and peelings. Red or green, big or small, they all work fine.
- 20 – 30 apple cores and peelings
- White or raw sugar (see method below for amount)
- Lemon Juice – 1tbsp for every 2 cups of liquid
- Place cores, seeds and peelings in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and cook until the apples are very soft (but not quite breaking up).
- Strain juice into a large bowl or another saucepan. Don’t be tempted to squeeze out the pulp as this will make the jelly cloudy (but it will still taste fine if you do). Discard apple pulp into compost.
- Measure hot liquid back into saucepan with 1/2 cup sugar for each 1 cup of liquid. Add lemon juice.
- Bring the liquid to the boil, allowing it to reduce and thicken.
- Test: Place a saucer in the freezer with a small amount of cold water to chill. When the jelly is ready, remove saucer from freezer and drop 1/2 a teaspoon of the jelly into the water. If it wrinkles and is firm, it is ready. If it is still syrupy, continue to cook.
- When the jelly is ready, pour the hot mixture into sterilised jars, allow to cool and store. For more on sterilising options, follow this link and see my notes at the bottom of the post – it’s easy!
The jelly will have a red or pink tint, regardless of the colour apples you use.
- There’s a lot of pectin in apple skins and seeds. With these and the lemon juice, your jelly should set easily. I needed to cook my jelly for around 45 minutes as I had a large volume. It took a while to set but as it cooled, of course it also started to thicken.
- Whilst I bottling these, I added a large stalk of rosemary to second half of the mixture and boiled it for a minute or two more to infuse the flavour. Discard the rosemary before bottling. Perfect for pork dishes.
There’s plenty of information around about food waste so I don’t intend to list it all here. What I have included are three very different links that have influenced me.
This article is not too long and provides some simple reasons why food waste is such an issue in the West, when much of the world is starving.
A nationwide Australian food rescue organisation that collects excess perishable foods and distributes them to over 500 charities. The website is fascinating and a reminder that there are plenty of people in our own country who require some form of food assistance. Perhaps you could donate a few dollars or buy their popular cookbook?
The Gleaners & I
I first saw this movie as part of QAGOMA’s #Harvest Exhibition in 2014. They had dozens of food related movies including this one. It was both playful and eye-opening at once. The link below is for the entire movie, if you’re keen (and you should be). Read my ‘The Gleaners I’ review.
And here’s an extra article for good measure: www.theguardian.com
So if you think food waste isn’t a problem in your city or town, you’re wrong. Sure, not everyone is going to freeze their apple cores and make apple scrap jelly but it is a good example of how when times were tough, people can innovate. We all need to take some responsibility.