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Anglo Saxon Apple Butter

by Admin Edatachase

Fruit was used as the usual accompaniment for meat until quite recently. From a modern standpoint, think of apple sauce with pork, or rowan jelly with goose, just writ large… a kick of sweetness adds so much to meat, bringing out the flavour and mixing with the juices…

The Anglo-Saxons certainly thought sweet and meat was a good combination and this recipe has been stolen (and muddled up) from a fantastic cookery book ‘Tastes of Anglo-Saxon England’ by Mary Savelli.

Æpple Syfling, or stewed apples, calls for you to cook apples, cider, honey and spices until soft and then serve with meat. It is truly delicious in this form: not too sweet (I would recommend tarter apples, but that’s personal preference), with an aroma of spice and a lovely texture.

Obviously, though, the joy of cooking is that we can appreciate and adapt. The Anglo-Saxons did not have a slow cooker that could just be left on in the corner (but if they had, I’m sure they would have done this too), so taking advantage of modern technology, I have appropriated the original recipe and taken it to the next stage of the sweet, smooth, gooey goodness that is apple butter.

Feel free to stop at any point and savour the wonder that is spiced stewed apples in any form, but I would recommend seeing it all the way to the end, at least with some of the mixture. The flavour of the full apple butter is rich, not too sweet and deep, pairing equally well with gamey meat; bread and cheese (apple butter and cheese toasties are next level magnificent); cake; ice cream; and many things in between.

The mint and cumin mix produces a fresh and light sauce that tastes summery, but comforting at the same time. 

(Note: I have included an alternative spice mix below the main recipe. Feel free to adapt it to your tastes, but the alternative recipe is one of my favourite spice mixes. Star anise is used a lot in 14th century fruit recipes and I got a little bit addicted in the name of research. If you are a liquorice nut like me, go wild with the star anise. The resulting mix is much more autumnal and a sweeter than the mint.)


  • 10 apples (approximately 500g), peeled, cored and diced
  • 375ml/12 fl oz Courtney's Cider
  • 2 large tbsp runny honey
  • ¼ tsp white pepper
  • ½ tsp dry mint
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  1. Put diced apples, cider, honey, white pepper, mint and cumin in the slow cooker and mix together.
  2. Put the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for 2 hours.
  3. If you want Anglo-Saxon ‘butter’, remove the mixture at this point and serve with meat.
  4. If you want to continue to a more modern variety, blend the mixture together (giving you will have a modern apple sauce consistency).
  5. Continue cooking on high for 2-4 hours, until the sauce behaves like a thick caramel when you stir it. Check occasionally to make sure the mixture doesn't catch.
  6. Place in sterilised jars and store for up to 3 weeks in the fridge. 

(Alternative Spice mix)

  • 10 apples (approximately 500g), peeled, cored and diced
  • 375ml/12 fl oz Courtney's Cider
  • 2 large tbsp runny honey
  • ¼ tsp white pepper
  • ½ tsp powdered cinnamon
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 4-7 star anise (to taste)
  • ½ nutmeg
  • 3 tbsp dark brown sugar
  1. Put diced apples, cider, honey, white pepper and powdered cinnamon in the slow cooker and mix together.
  2. Tie the cinnamon stick, star anise and nutmeg inside a cheesecloth and nestle into the mixture.
  3. Put the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for 2 hours.
  4. Remove the bag of spices and blend the mixture together (giving you will have an apple sauce consistency).
  5. Add the brown sugar and mix together.
  6. Continue cooking on high for about 4 hours, or until the mixture is the preferred consistency (a thick sauce that holds its shape when stirred. Check occasionally to make sure the mixture doesn't catch.
  7. Place in sterilised jars and store for up to 3 weeks in the fridge. 

The result of your apple butter will vary massively depending on your choice of ingredients. Bramley apples will produce a completely different colour and flavour to red apple varieties. The addition of brown sugar will darken the end result and make it more caramelly. 

As Autumn Draws In

by Admin Edatachase

Well, to combat the bad news trickling into our lives, Courtney’s is here with warmth and cheer.  The leaves are turning and soon, we can all stride through a sea of yellows, ochres and gold with the edge of chill in the air, to our homes where food and drink will be waiting for us.

Over the next few weeks, we will be giving you recipes and tips to bring warmth back into our lives (while watching fuel use).  All our drinks will be partnered with parties, family gatherings, intimate evenings or online gangs sharing an evening, making this autumn special for everyone in the Courtney’s family.

We have a lot to look forward to: the extra hour, Hallowe’en, Bonfire Night, the borrowed festivities of Thanksgiving, Advent and everything heralds the coming of Christmas.

We have mapped out a progress and we hope you will join us for our journey.  And ultimately, of course, raise a glass, full of the precious glow of autumn.

Open Orchard Days 17th & 18th Sept 2022 - with Apple Picking, Apple Pressing, Cider and Music

by Andy Parker

Following successful open orchard events in 2021 we will once again be opening our ancient Whiteways orchard for you to explore and relax with family and friends entertained by live music. Join in the Courtneys Cider making experience by helping to harvest this years apple crop. We will also offer you the opportunity to bring your own apples to press using our equipment creating your own natural apple juice (max 10kgs per person).

The Courtney's of Whimple ancient cider orchard in Southbrook Lane, Whimple will be open to the public for two days (11am to 6pm).


From 11am - we will be offering an apple picking experience in the orchards.

From Noon - Pressing Apples! The opportunity to press apples you have brought with you to create your own fresh juice using our equipment (note: charge £2 per kg - bring your own vessels for juice or we will provide free of charge).

From 1pm - Live music from the orchard

All day - Courtney's Drinks including cocktails, our prize-winning ciders and soft drinks from our cider bar.

All day - Hot and cold refreshments available all day.


Tickets are £6 per person per day which includes a FREE alcoholic or soft drink from the bar. Tickets are not required for children under 4 years of age. Tickets are non-refundable.



Grab a cider and a pasty, throw down a blanket and relax in the beautiful East Devon countryside.


Enjoy the apple picking and pressing experience.


All in all - a cracking day out in the fresh air at a local family business in East Devon.


Courtney's Orchards, The Old Orchards, Southbrook Lane, Whimple, EX5 2PD

50°45'41.0"N 3°23'20.5"W

View on Google Maps: Here

Location using what3words: themes.extreme.flattered.

Award Winning 'Courtney's Cider' makes its Parliament Debut!

by Admin Edatachase

We love our personal mention in the House of Commons yesterday. East Devon cider producers amongst the best in the world and firmly on the map!

A proud moment for all at Courtney's.

Double Joy at the Cornwall Cider Championships

by Andy Parker

Courtney's Drinks are celebrating a double scoop at the 2022 Cornwall Cider Championships last week. Our 'Whimple Orchards' and 'Silly Cow' ciders both winning top prize in their categories at the Royal Cornwall Show.

Commenting, Paul Courtney said ''This is great recognition for the team at Courtney's ahead of the hard graft of this season's apple harvest - which is getting closer! We continue to invest behind the scenes in technology, resources and working on new drink options so 2022 will be an incredibly exciting year - WATCH THIS SPACE'.

How do bees make honey?

by Admin Edatachase

Have you ever wondered how bees make honey?

Step 1:

The worker bees will land inside or close to the flower and suck the nectar out using her proboscis (tongue) and collect in it a little sac called a crop or other wise known as a honey stomach. 

Step 2:

When her nectar sac is full, the honeybee will return to the hive. The worker bee will then pass the nectar to a hive bee by regurgitating the liquid into the hive bees mouth.

Step 3:

The worker bee will fly off and continue to collect nectar again whilst the hive bee deposits the nectar into a honeycomb. 

Initially the honey stored in the cells is still a bit wet, so the bees fan their wings over it, which helps the water to evaporate.  After some time, the water content is reduced to around 17%. 

Step 4:

When most of the water has evaporated from the honeycomb, the bee seals the comb with a secretion of liquid from its abdomen, which eventually hardens into beeswax. This process is a little bit like putting a lid on a jar.

During one bees lifetime, it will only make around 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey. To make a whole pound of honey, the worker bees need to fly 50,000 miles and visit about 2 million flowers.

So the next time you have a trickle of honey over your porridge or over your pancakes, appreciate all the hard work bees have put into making it.

Bee friendly plants to sow this summer

by Admin Edatachase

Give bees a helping hand by planting flowers, shrubs and trees that will provide them with the nectar and pollen they need to thrive, as well as nesting habitats.

Early Summer FlowersLate Summer Flowers
Hardy geranium
Dahlia (single-flowered)
Globe thistle
Verbena bonariensis

Other things to consider:

- Plant through the seasons to provide year-round bee habitat

- Give bees shelter by letting the grass grow

- Don't use pesticides or insecticides 

- Use peat-free compost to save wildlife habitat

- Create a bee hotel.

Our bees are not only important to us at Courtney's because they produce our incredible honey we use to infuse Grumblebee Rum, they also pollinate all of the apple trees in our orchard where we make our Cider and Juice! 

Lambs playing in the Orchard

by Admin Edatachase

Courtney's Orchard & Cider Open Day - 26th & 27th June 2021

by Andy Parker

We are back! After a successful orchard open day last year, we have finally got more dates for you to come and explore our ancient Whiteways orchards.

Why not grab a cider and a pasty, throw down a picnic blanket and relax.


Take a seat at one of our picnic benches located throughout the orchard. Perfect for social distancing.

Outside Cider Bar open for refreshments along with local pasties and tubs of ice-cream.

  • We will be serving cider, cocktails and soft drinks from our open air cider bar.
  • Why not take a break on your walk or cycle round the block to relax in the orchards with a refreshing drink.
  • Well behaved dogs on leads and responsible owners only, as we have sheep grazing in the orchards.
  • Limited toilet and parking facilities.
  • You must register for a ticket to attend. If you can no longer attend, please cancel your ticket so that someone else may come.

Courtney's create a range of ciders and juices from our orchards. Everything we do is natural. We handpick, press and bottle within the orchard. We don't use harmful chemicals or fertilisers, just letting nature do what she does best. Our range of ciders available include traditional, fruit and low alcohol. We also make Gin & Honey Rum which will be available to try or take away.

How to find us:

Courtney Orchards, The Old Orchards, Southbrook Lane, Whimple, EX5 2PD

50°45'41.0"N 3°23'20.5"W

View on Google Maps:

Your SatNav may take you to a neighbouring farm. Please follow signs from the main road into Southbrook lane. We are 1 mile from the main road just past the railway bridge.

A short walk or cycle from Cranbrook, Whimple, Broadclyst and Rockbeare.

Extra info:

We keep beehives on the orchard to pollinate our trees. Please keep a reasonable distance away from them as they are very busy bees.


New Luxury Truffles

by Admin Edatachase

We have been working with a local chocolatier to create luxury truffles infused with our gin, rum & honey.

This is something we have always wanted to do and we couldn't be happier with the results.

We have 4 varieties available:

The Exe Gin with White Chocolate & Lemon

The Exe Gin with Milk Chocolate & Orange

Grumblebee Rum & Dark Chocolate

Grumblebee Honey with Milk Chocolate

We love it when things just work and these combinations are absolute incredible.

To shop truffles, click HERE