Blog Update!
For those of you not following me on Facebook, as of the Summer of 2019 I've moved to Central WA, to a tiny mountain town of less than 1,000 people.

I will be covering my exploits here in the Cascades, as I try to further reduce my impact on the environment. With the same attitude, just at a higher altitude!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

What to do with all those apples

Apples!Apple season is upon us and last night I went to a course and tasting on Washington apples at The Dahlia Lounge (thanks to my foodie brother, Darryl).

So, while my mind is wrapped around apples, let's discuss some of the fantabulous things you can do with all dem apples. Don't be shy - make this year the one where you buy a bushel or two.

Of course, there's the myriad ways of cooking and baking with apples, but I'm assuming you can eat only so many apple pastries at once so I'm going to focus on throwing out some ideas of things to do with apples that you can store and enjoy throughout the year.

Well, first off there's the beverage selections. You can press your own apples and make apple juice or apple cider. You can home pasteurize these juices by boiling and then freezing the juice to make sure that nothing unwanted grows in your liquids. If you are real excited, you can make your own hard apple cider. You can even make your own apple cider vinegar if you let your hard cider ferment until it becomes vinegar.

Don't forget! You can boil down the juice or cider to make an apple syrup which can come in handy for making apple-flavored cocktails among other things.

Canning jams, jellies and whatnots
Next up are easy ways of preserving the apple bounty by using your trusty canner. You can make apple jelly, caramel apple jam, applesauce, apple chutney and apple pie filling.

Don't forget! You can make your own pectin from apples for use in your other canning projects.

Drying and freezing
A great, fast and tasty way of preserving loads of apples is by dehydrating them. You can dry them with or without the skins on, just know that it takes longer to dry them if you leave them on. By doing this at home you avoid the sulfur-laden ones from the store.

It's easy to freeze apples. You basically just slice them up, toss them with ascorbic acid and freeze. Another thing I like to do is prepare apple pie filling and freeze until ready to use. You can also freeze the pie filling (inside a large freezer bag) in a pie plate if you intend on going straight from the freezer to the oven.

Storing them straight up
If you are lucky enough to have a cellar or some sort of cold storage, you can store your apples until you are ready to eat them. Thick skinned apples are better at storing than others, just make sure they aren't bruised otherwise they'll all ripen faster. It's the old "one bad apple" adage.

Downed apples
If you don't know what to do with all those windfall apples that get blown off your trees (or your neighbor's), check out this article from Mother Earth News, What to Do with Windfall Apples.

I hope this has given you enough ideas of what to do with your apples. What's your favorite method to store or preserve them?


LatigoLiz said...

If you have a friend with horses or goats, I am sure they’d take any marginal apples off your hands. :) Especially if they don’t have access to any trees themselves. Same folks are also a good outlet for excess carrots.

Burbanmom said...

We always get a couple of bushels and make room in the fridge for them. The trick, I've found (or rather - learned from my Dad), is to wrap each one individually in newspaper or cut up magazine pages or whatnot. That way even if one goes bad, it doesn't seem to affect the others.

Love the frozen apple pie filling idea! Will definitely give that a go this year!

Michelle said...

I feed my windfallen apples to my rabbits, who gratefully both compost them and turn them into rabbit meat ~

Joanna said...

I'm the recipient of windfall pears, with some windfall apples on the way, so I'm looking for lots of ideas! Thanks!

e4 said...

Our cow's absolute favorite treat is a chunk of apple slightly past it's prime...

Jennifer said...

My in-laws have two apple trees. Every other year they ahve a bumber crop and we pick the apples, and spend a weekend making apple pies. We freeze the pies unbaked, in pie tins in a plastic bag, and then all take a bunch. These pies are GREAT for easy desserts all year, for pot lucks, for bringing to parties as a guest, etc. They last two years frozen easy without signs of degredation!

Green Bean said...

Perfect timing. Another mom one town over told me to come "pick her tree clean." I tried and came home with 4 bags.

I've been dehydrating, making apple crisp, apple cider, applesauce, apple chutney and apple butter. Here's an awesome recipe that you make in the slow cooker.

I'll have to give the freezing a shot.

Unknown said...

I'll make applesauce and give the extras to our sheep.

Anonymous said...

We love dried apples, so I'm drying a load a day right now. Our free apple source didn't come through this year so I'm shelling out, but it's cheaper than buying dried apples all winter (and those all come from California.) I dry them crunchy, which I like better than the sort of limp texture commercial ones have, and they seem to keep better that way. If I dry 60 quart jars of dried apple rings, we will have apples until Christmas, if I ration them. I've never been able to dry enoguh to get us through to next fall.

Oh, and we'll eat about 20 pints of apple butter a year, too.

For pears, my favorite preservation method is to poach them in red wine and can them. YUM.

Crunchy Domestic Goddess said...

thanks for the link on how to store them w/o a root cellar. i'm hoping to do some organic apple picking this fall w/ the fam and would love a way to keep some fresh for several months. (will dehydrate and can some too.)

Anonymous said...

Since I live in Massachusetts, I really wish I liked apples more. I don't dislike them, but they're really not my favorite.

That said, if you dip slices in a dilute honey-ginger solution (or honey-cinnamon or whatever your favorite is) before drying, they become substantially more interesting :-)

Anonymous said...

What to do with all those apples? One word: trebuchet!!!! (If you make it big enough, you might make it to Wenatchee! :-D

Seriously, all those ideas sound so yummy; but I don't have my own apple tree (yet). There's a pick-your-own farm a few miles away; but, doesn't the cost of picking and the cost of preserving them make store-bought cheaper/comparable? (I guess I'll pay [pun not intended] attention to the costs this year....)

Annnyyyywayyy, I prefer applesauce because I use it to replace most of the oil when I bake. (For example, my zucchini bread reciple calls for 1c oil, but I use 1/4c oil and 3/4c applesauce.) Lumpy a/s goes great in plain yogurt, too! :-)

Robj98168 said...

My aunt orrine always made an extra apple pie and froze it. Worked out great.

Anonymous said...

jimbolini, if you live in an area where apple trees grow, you might try asking around or free apples.

We usually go out to the suburbs and pick apples from trees growing in someone's backyard; they use apples until they're sick of them, then call us to clean up the rest. Freecycle might be a good place to ask for something like that.

Stephanie said...

Interesting ideas. I can't wait to try some local apples -- I never even thought of that before, but supposedly we have really delicious, sweet ones where I go to school. So though I won't be preserving, I will try all the local ones I can find!

EcoBurban said...

Mmmmm, pie. That reminds me, I need to call my grandma. She has the best apple cream pie recipe ever and now I am betting I can figure out a way to freeze that filling! Great list Crunchy!

Sharlene said...

You have me all excited about going apple picking in a few weeks! Tee hee!

Chili Bean said...

A favoutite recipe of mine is a soup made from tomato, apple, celery and onion. Roughly equal quantities of each plus a little fresh ginger and nutmeg and some stock. There a several versions which you can find thro google. The original recipe I used cooked blitzed and sieved, I prefer to just cook and blitz for a more wholefood version.
Uses up surplus tomatoes a swell as apples. ...mmmmm!

April said...

We just started making apple butter in the crock pot. So easy, so yummy.

Unknown said...

You have given us lot of ideas and these ideas are really useful for household ladies. Apples have lot energy in both senses?????????

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Laura said...

One issue is that different varieties have different best uses, yet not many people go into detail about this.