Saturday, October 22, 2011

Apple Season!

Fresh apples are a wonderful treat at this time of year.  I try to avoid buying apples at other times of year when they are not in season (like during the spring and early summer).  Eating fruit as it comes in season is a great way to ensure that the fruit you buy will always be fresh and delicious, rather than picked and then transported for weeks from some far away locale.

Enjoy them fresh
We love to eat apples raw, but there are also some great ways to cook with apples.  If you haven't tried apple clafoutis yet, give it a whirl.  It is one our top five grain-free breakfasts. Cooked apples make a delicious side dish alongside pork or chicken.  I'm also working on a recipe for grain-free apple cinnamon muffins.

Preserve some apples
To extend our apple enjoyment, I am preserving lots of apples this year.  An apple corer-peeler-slicer has been essential to save time.  So far, I've put away one bushel (40 pounds), and hope to buy some more apples while the season lasts.  I've made:
  • Dried apples: Core and slice the apples; then dry them in a dehydrator or oven at the lowest temperature.  We like to dry them until they are nice and crispy.
  • Spiced apple butter: Throw cored apples (whole or sliced, with the peel on) into a slow cooker and let them cook all day.  Add spices like cinnamon, vanilla, ginger, and cloves.  Add a pinch of salt and some honey if desired.  Then blend it all with an immersion blender until it is nice and smooth.  I just store it in small jars in the freezer rather than canning it. I can't wait to try this on some homemade ice cream.  It is wonderful stirred into a bowl of yogurt.
  • Apple worms: Rather than throwing the apple peels into the compost bucket, I sprinkled them with a touch of cinnamon and then dried them in my oven for several hours at 200 degrees F.  The result is a wonderful, crispy snack!  My 4-year-old gets a kick out of eating these "worms".
  • Frozen raw apples: In a large pot or bowl, combine cold filtered water and some sea salt (I used 1/4 cup salt to one gallon water). Core, peel, and slice the apples, and then chop them a bit more into smaller pieces.  As each apple is prepared, drop the pieces into the salt water.  Once all the apples are immersed, give them a stir. Drain into a colander and do NOT rinse the apples.  Put the apples into quart freezer bags, and transfer to the freezer.  These will be wonderful in the middle of winter cooked into clafoutis or an apple crisp. 
  • Frozen cooked apples: Peel, core, and slice apples.  Cook them over low heat with a dash of salt and a little butter or coconut oil.  When they are nice and soft, they are done!  Scoop them into glass jars or bowls and freeze them.  These will make a great quick side dish or treat. 
What are your favorite apple recipes? Are you preserving any apples this year?

This post is part of Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Fight Back Friday, Pennywise Platter, Real Food Wednesday, Monday Mania and Fat Tuesday!

    12 comments :

    Julie said...

    Yum! Now I am even more inspired to get to those apples at my local farm market!
    Thank you for the great ideas!

    Rachael said...

    Wow! Most inspiring apple post i have seen!! I wasted all my apples last year - the birds and chooks got most of them... We have since given the tree a really intense prune... I hope she isn't too traumatized and provides plenty of apples next season so I can try some (all) of your suggestions! :)

    Sonia said...

    I've been processing a lot of apples too. One thing I do after making apple sauce or dried apples is put all the skins and cores through the juicer to get apple juice. Then I either use that to flavour our water kefir or I use it to make homemade jello. :)

    Sarah Smith said...

    What a great idea, Sonia!!

    Jill said...

    I used to make apple butter every fall (having lived in North Central Washington, how could I not?). What I found to be the BEST way to cook the apple butter before canning is to slow cook in the OVEN, uncovered (a roasting pan is perfect) for SEVERAL hours. Cooking it this way concentrates the apple flavor by allowing moisture to escape and also results in a richer, thicker apple butter. I would allow it to reduce by half (be sure to pre-puree the apples before cooking down). I used to use brown sugar for a more caramel-y flavor, but now I would use date sugar, palm sugar, sucanat, or another unprocessed "brown" sugar. I should note that my recipe included fresh pressed apple cider/or juice, which added flavor as well (again, be sure to reduce by half so it is nice and thick). Come to think of it, fresh pressed orange juice would be incredible in it too, along with cinnamon sticks (removed before canning), cloves....

    Sarah Smith said...

    Mmmm, sounds delicious, Jill.

    mygapsmusings said...

    I'm trying!! I made some applesauce but we wound up eating it (I think I froze a few small jars). I made some apple chips and these, too, are gone. Sigh... I have a few more apples to process and these are going straight into the freezer. I'm thinking of getting a large bag at the market again and making some more sauce and chips. I'm going to freeze some in pieces like you suggested for clafoutis (I'm enjoying the pumpking one right now.. YUM).

    Allison at Novice Life said...

    What a great idea for the apple worms!

    Jill @RealFoodForager.com said...

    Thanks for linking your great post to FAT TUESDAY. This was very interesting! Hope to see you next week!

    Be sure to visit RealFoodForager.com on Sunday for Sunday Snippets – your post from Fat Tuesday may be featured there!

    http://realfoodforager.com/2011/10/fat-tuesday-october-25-2011/

    If you have grain-free recipes please visit my Grain-Free Linky Carnival in support of my 28 day grain-free challenge! It will be open until November 2.

    http://realfoodforager.com/2011/10/grain-free-real-food-linky-carnival/

    Taryn Kae Wilson said...

    I've been making lots and lots of applesauce! Just posted about our new favorite method.

    http://woolymossroots.blogspot.com/2011/10/making-applesauce.html

    I want to try your apple muffin recipe and the apple butter. mm! And I love dried apples.

    The Voogts said...

    We've got tons of applesauce in the pantry now. Love your idea of apple worms!!! May have to try that sometime.

    Andrea @ Frugally Sustainable said...

    Another winner! Girl...you are just full of great ideas! I love your blog!!!