Research Update – apple growing

Research Update – apple growing

[Experiment set up by Catherine Chapman]

There are new updates, on the Apple Growers tab, about the progress of some of the apple research which is part funded by NACM via the Collaborative Training Partnership for Fruit Crop Research.

We have 2 new students this year:

Hayden Tempest studying “Radio-tagging earwigs to understand the breakdown in successful woolly apple aphid, Eriosoma lanigerum (Hausmann) control”


Marios Stamatiou studying “Managing living mulch (cover crops) to improve soil health (including nutrient cycling) and encourage natural enemies”

The full list of students and their studies are listed and if you would like further information please contact


Sandford Orchards Devon Red Relish

Sandford Orchards Devon Red Relish

Thanks to the Fuss Free Foodie for her latest creation with Sandford Orchards!

Sandford Orchards Devon Red Relish

Makes 3 to 4 small Kilner jars

  • 80g raisins/sultanas
  • 80ml malt vinegar
  • 400ml Sandford Orchards Devon Red cider
  • 400g banana shallots (6), finely chopped
  • 375g eating apples (3), peeled, cored and finely diced
  • 120g dark muscovado sugar
  • ¼ tsp powdered ginger
  • ½ tsp garlic salt
  • ¼ heaped tsp mixed spice
  • ¼ tsp chilli flakes
  • 4-5 rasps of nutmeg
  1. Place all the ingredients in a large pan. Bring to the boil and keep on a medium to high heat for the first 15 minutes. Stir every 5 minutes or so.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium and keep it bubbling away so that it starts to reduce. Keep stirring the relish every 5 minutes.
  3. The relish is ready when it goes darker in colour and the liquid evaporates. This should take about 45 -55 minutes. Allow the relish to cool. Serve in a pretty bowl or jar on a cheese board along with your favourite crackers.

Fuss Free tips!

  • If the relish needs to reduce to a darker colour and there is no liquid left add a splash of hot water. If you wanted to make enough for just one event you could halve the recipe and it will cook in 30 minutes.
  • If you wanted to store the relish for a longer period, follow your usual preserving methods or sterilize some jars by placing glass jars in an oven for 15 minutes at 150˚C/300˚F/Gas Mark 2 and boiling the lids in water. Place the relish in the jars whilst they are hot and place wax paper over the top.

Click here to watch on youtube. Alternatively, click here to have a look at other recipes by The Fuss Free Foodie involving ciders from our members!

Toffee Apple and Cyder Cake

Toffee Apple and Cyder Cake

Toffee Apple and Cyder Cake

Try this amazing Cyder Cake with delicious toffee cider sauce – tastes just like toffee apples!

Total time

1h 20min






For the toffee apple cake

  • 175g unsalted butter, softened
  • 125g soft brown sugar
  • 100g dates, pitted
  • 100ml cider
  • 3 large eggs, beaten together with a fork
  • 220g self raising flour
  • 2tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 bramley cooking apples, grated
  • 50g toffee pieces

For the toffee cider sauce

  • 100ml double cream
  • 50ml cider
  • 85g salted butter
  • 100g soft brown sugar


  1. Preheat your oven to 180C/160 fan/ Gas Mark 4.
  2. Grease and line a 9” cake tin with non stick silicone paper.
  3. Sift the flour and ground cinnamon together into a bowl and set aside.
  4. Place the dates and cider into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer until the dates are soft (this should take around 5-10 minutes.
  5. Set aside to cool. Add the dates to a small food processor and pulse until you are left with small chunks of dates (you don’t want the mix to be completely smooth).
  6. Meanwhile, using an electric hand whisk, beat together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy (this should take around 5 minutes).
  7. Gradually add the eggs a little at a time and continually mix together. If the mixture begins
    to curdle, add a spoonful of flour to bring the mixture back to a smooth consistency.
  8. Once all of the eggs have been added, fold in the cinnamon flour mix until incorporated. Fold in the grated apple, toffee pieces and cooled date mixture.
  9. Pour the cake mixture into the prepared tin and place in the oven to bake for 50 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the cake.
  10. Once baked, remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly in the tin, before fully removing from the tin and leaving to cool on a wire rack.
  11. Meanwhile, prepare your toffee cider sauce. Add all of the sauce ingredients to a saucepan and heat until the butter and sugar have melted.
  12. Simmer and stir until the sauce has thickened and is the desired colour and consitency. Keep warm and poor over a slice of the cooled cake!