Crab-apples were used in medieval times to make verjuice, a kind of vinegar. Their pleasantly tangy acidity makes them well worth using in this recipe for spicy pickled fruits. Serve as an accompaniment to cold meat.
The yield will depend on how tightly the apples are packed and the capacity of the jars.
2.7 g (6 lb) crab-apples, trimmed
2-3 strips lemon rind
450 g (l lb) sugar
450 ml (3/4 pint) red wine vinegar
1 cinnamon stick
1?2 whole cloves
1. Put the crab-apples in a preserving pan with 900 ml (1 1/2 pints) water and the strips of lemon rind and simmer gently until just tender.
2. Remove the pan from the heat and strain, reserving the liquid. Put the sugar and vinegar in a pan and add 900 ml (1 1/2 pints) of the liquid from the fruit.
3. Tie the spices in a piece of muslin and add to the liquid. Heat gently, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved, then bring to the boil and boil for 1 minute. 4. Add the crab-apples and simmer gently for 30-40 minutes, until the syrup has reduced to a coating consistency. Remove the muslin bag after 30 minutes. 5. Pack the fruit in small jars, pour over the syrup and cover with airtight and vinegar-proof tops.
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