Autumnal ap-peel

Wisley’s apple harvest is under way so there's a lot of peeling going on to make a fabulous range of recipes

It’s lovely at Wisley at the moment. The leaves are starting to drop, there's colour all around and I can still go into the garden each morning with the kitchen staff to pick herbs and flowers. Any fruits that aren’t good for eating raw may be used in our freshly pressed apple juice, chutneys, jellies, desserts, even soups and vegetable dishes.

Taste of Wisley favourites

Peeling applesRHS Garden Wisley customers love traditional puddings such as apple pies and crumbles, Bramley apple burnt cream and rice pudding with caramelized apple. Chicken braised with apples, thyme and cider, along with parsnip and apple soup are two other fine British recipes which we sell a lot of during the colder months.

In the Taste of Wisley kitchens, we preserve apples in lots of different ways for lots of different recipes – and you might consider doing the same at home. Simplest is a lightly sweetened purée, which you can then freeze in bags or tubs to use up over winter. However, I also think it good to cook large chunks in grenadine or Spiced apple compotered wine for use in savoury dishes such as braised red cabbage (great with confit duck or pork belly), or in baking when they add colour to a cake or tart. I even preserve some apples whole, by poaching them in simple syrup.

Boozy blackberry recipe ideas

I’ve been making the most of the last of the blackberries too – just produced a huge batch of jam, which will be used in the bakery for almond slices. We also poach blackberries lightly in syrup then mix them with apples to make sloe gin trifles.

It’s my blackberry and vanilla vodka I’m most excited about however. It’s very easy to make at home and a great Christmas gift idea. Simply steep 500g (18oz) cleaned blackberries in a litre of inexpensive vodka - it doesn’t really need sugar, but you could add some if preferred. Don’t throw away the boozy blackberries as you can add them to desserts or serve them with ice cream.

Pumpkin carving

Display of  pumpkins and squashesPumpkins are a quintessential autumn crop but we don’t start cooking them in earnest until much later in the season – they are used for decoration first!
To coincide with the RHS Garden Wisley Harvest Fest celebrations running from October through November, Taste of Wisley is holding a pumpkin carving competition for young people 16 years and under.
Deliver your carved pumpkin, which will be dispayed, to the Food Hall by Friday 30 October. The winner will receive a joint RHS membership and complimentary meal for four in The Restaurant at Wisley.

More info

Taste of Wisley
More things to do at RHS Garden Wisley
How to grow blackberries
How to grow pumpkins

Get involved

The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.