An Apple A Day
Where I live it’s smack dab in the middle of apple season. Just another in the long line of reasons that autumn is the king of seasons as far as I’m concerned. You can get supermarket apples all year around (and FYI, many of the apples you enjoy in the off season have probably been in cold storage for many months), but it just isn’t the same as a locally-grown apple in the peak of season.
That isn’t to say that supermarket apples are bad; not at all. In fact you can find fresh versions of your supermarket varieties as well. For example, fresh local golden delicious apples are tough to beat. No matter what kind of in-season apples you get, you might want to preserve some of the goodness for the days when these apples are a distant memory and you’re snacking on 12-month old granny smiths. Here are three easy ways you can put up those apples without fancy equipment or sacrificing a whole day in the kitchen.
Freeze Apples Whole
Believe it or not you can actually freeze apples whole (well, almost whole). If you have the freezer space, this is the easiest thing you can do to preserve apples to use later. This works well if you want to use the apples for pie, sauce, or other cooked apple recipes. Not so much for eating them out of hand after they are frozen.
Start with fresh, firm apples. Wash the apples, core them, then dry. Toss them in zipper lock freezer bag and freeze. When you want to use them just run them under cold water before you use them.
Making apple sauce is incredibly easy, and it freezes like a champ. Homemade applesauce simple blows away anything you can get in a jar. Remember that freezing kills sweetness, so add just a bit more sugar to compensate. This isn’t necessary if you intend to eat it right away. When it comes to freezing you can actually put the sauce into zipper lock freezer bags and freeze them in thin bricks; it doesn’t take up much space at all.
For one batch start with 8 apples, peeled, cored, and cut into large chunks. Put the apple chunks into a large sauce pan and add 1.5 cups water, 1/2 cup sugar (you can adjust depending on how sweet your apples are), and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. Bring everything to a boil then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for about 10-15 minutes or until apples are nice and soft. Mash with a potato masher and enjoy!
Dry Apples in Your Oven
If you have a food dehydrator then you can use that for great results, but most of us don’t have one. The simple solution is to do some apples right in your oven. These will probably go super fast and you won’t need to store them, but in case you do put them in an airtight container and put them in the fridge. They should last a month or two.
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (you can do more than one baking sheet at a time if you want). Take two large apples, cored (peeling is optional), and slice about 1/8 inch thick. If you have mandoline slicer, now would be the time to use it. Place the slices in a single layer on the baking sheet, and bake for 60 minutes. Turn the apple slices over and bake for an additional 60 minutes. Turn off oven and let apples cool in the oven for about two hours. The apples are ready to eat or store!
Enjoy Apple Season
I hope you get your fill of delicious fresh apples this autumn. No matter what you do with them remember to take the time to enjoy the bounty of the season!
Mentioned in this Episode
Vincent’s book recommendation: “Pie” by Sarah Weeks
Ellie Alexander’s Amazon webpage
“One Pot” cookbook
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