Real Men Sow

5 Tips For Stewing Fruit from the Allotment

Posted on by in fruit with 3 Comments


I love this time of year. There is so much fruit to be had from gardens, allotments and open spaces, as well as bags of surplus going outside front gates for an absolute song. Just yesterday I picked up a big bag of lovely Bramley apples for just 50p!

It’s not just apples to be had though – there are plums, greengages and pears galore, all of which make delicious fare however you choose to eat them. However, when there is so much produce to be had, what do you do with it all?

Well, I love to stew and freeze. I get this habit from my mum, who always used to freeze stewed apples from the tree in our garden. I really enjoy some stewed fruit and yoghurt after dinner as a healthy dessert, or to bulk up my breakfast muesli.

Stewing is easy, and providing you’ve got a decent supply of Tupperware (the plastic takeaway style ones are cheap as chips off Ebay) and room in your freezer, you can be kept in fruit through most of the winter.

If you’ve never stewed surplus fruit before, here are a 5 tips to help you on your way.

Go easy on the sugar.
The amount of sugar your fruit needs will depend on how ripe it is. If the fruit is really ripe and sweet, then you won’t need much at all. As a rule of thumb I use two teaspoons of sugar and taste later on. If you need extra sugar, you can always add some more afterwards.

Sometimes I use runny honey instead of sugar. This is particularly good if you’re baking or stewing rhubarb.

Put a tiny bit of water in the bottom of the pan.
If your fruit is really ripe, it will produce plenty of juice, but I think it’s always good idea to add a trickle of water to the bottom of the pan before you begin cooking. This will stop the fruit from burning.

Stir fairly frequently.
Stirring frequently will also help prevent the fruit from the burning. You don’t have to be a slave to the cooking process, but I’d definitely suggest being around and close whilst the fruit is on the hob.

Experiment with flavours.
I’ve grown to enjoy throwing some flavourings in when I’m stewing. Some good choices have been Vanilla with plum or gooseberry, apple and cinnamon and rhubarb and ginger. Orange zest is also tasty with rhubarb.

Reducing the liquid
Sometimes, especially if the fruit is ripe, you will end up with a lot of liquid. You can reduce this if you like by removing the lid of the pan. Of course, you can keep the juice too, as I do. It goes nicely with the yoghurt, or you can even use the excess as cordial.

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  1. BerylAugust 19, 2014 at 10:06 pmReply

    Have you tried dehydrating some of the surplus? I got a dehydrator this year and it’s been going full pelt ever since – strawberries, apples and raspberries are brilliant, and just the thing for stocking up on for winter. The courgette crisps it chucks out are fab too.

  2. lizAugust 24, 2014 at 1:52 pmReply

    Please tell me, are greengages like plums? Are they sweet? We don’t have them here (as far as I know), have only read about them. Is that a picture of them above? What can you do with them besides stewing? Now, aren’t courgettes just a cucumber? I have NEVER heard of dehydrating them, but then again have never even grown enough to pickle before.

    • Jono

      JonoAugust 25, 2014 at 8:00 amReplyAuthor

      Hi Liz – yes, they’re like plums, but sweeter. :)

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meIn 2007, I took on a redundant allotment plot with my gardening-mad mum Jan. As all good mums do, she went along with it, but I don’t think she held out much hope. However, over a decade later, and she now lets me do stuff without watching over my shoulder, so I must be doing something right. [ read more ]

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