Saturday, September 15, 2012

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 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.  This year, our two apple trees provided us with plenty of apples right from our back yard.

Enjoy them now
We love to eat apples raw, and there are also some great ways to cook with apples.  Some of our favorite ways to cook with apples are:

  • Apple clafoutis is one our top five grain-free breakfasts. 
  • Cooked apples make a delicious side dish alongside pork or chicken.  Simply combine chopped apples with some butter, a dash of salt, and a bit of honey if desired. Then cook for about an hour over low heat.
  • Caramel apples are a delicious treat!
  • Apple cinnamon muffins are another beloved grain-free breakfast in our home.  

Preserve some apples
To extend our apple enjoyment, I like to preserve lots of apples.  An apple corer-peeler-slicer is essential to save time.  My favorite ways to preserve apples are:
  • 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.  Dried apples make a great snack, and they can also be used to make apple raisin snack bars.
  • 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 store apple butter in small jars in the freezer rather than canning it. It is wonderful stirred into a bowl of yogurt, on buttered toast, or on top of some homemade ice cream.
  • Apple worms: Rather than throwing the apple peels into the compost bucket, I combine them with a dash of maple syrup and sometimes sprinkle them with a touch of cinnamon. Then dry them in the oven for several hours at 200 degrees F.  The result is a wonderful, crispy snack!  My kids 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 use 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. Frozen appples are  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 make a great quick side dish or treat.  
  • Apple core and peel jelly: Leftover apple cores and peels can be cooked to make a simple apple jelly.  I combine the peels and cores of about 20 apples with about 6 cups of water.  Cook over at a low simmer for about an hour, then strain.  The resulting apple liquid can be combined with sweetener of your choice to make jelly.  I use Pomona's pectin, which allows you to use any sweetener you like in much lesser quantities than traditional jelly recipes.
What are your favorite apple recipes? Are you preserving any apples this year?


kitblu said...

My brother loves the apple chutney I make and will accept every jar I give him. I don't want much myself so that works out well. I make an apple crisp that looks like baked apples with granola.

Julie said...

I use Pomona's also, but I wasn't sure whether or not it was GAPS legal. I posted on the GAPS yahoo board, and everyone said it wasn't. I did give the ingredients and said it was natural pectin, but all said it was illegal. I made my strawberry jam with honey, but I still haven't given it to my kids for fear or sliding on the GAPS diet. What is your opinion on this. I thought it would be fine in small quantities, and not every day.

Love the caramel apple recipe!! This is definitely one that I am going to try.

Sarah Smith said...

Hi Julie,
Yes, unfortunately pectin is a complex sugar, so it is not GAPS-legal. We had no problems having a little bit occasionally after we'd been on GAPS for a good long while, but I don't think we tried it until we'd been on strict GAPS for at least a year.