If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, how many doctors are bored because we’re averaging 2-3 per person around here this fall?
My husband went out with friends Friday night. They had pizza, he had an apple. The next day they tailgated; he had grilled chicken and an apple.
My 2-year-old daughter Leah asks for “an apple for the road” daily as we load up to drive big brother Paul to kindergarten, approximately ten minutes after she finishes breakfast. She usually asks for another mid-morning, and another “for the road” when we pick him up at noon. It’s not uncommon to have an afternoon snack of an apple, and if we go for a walk after dinner, guess what she asks for?
(Don’t worry, I don’t actually give her one all those times, but it proves a point. We love our apples.)
There are six boxes of apples, four bushels total, in our garage. Although we’re loving the warm weather, I almost (almost!) want it to cool down again so my little dearies will stick around longer.
Preserving The Harvest.
Once I can get around to it on my to-do list, here are some ways I’m preserving apples to keep them until next summer:
1. Dehydrate apple slices with cinnamon: see how to dehydrate fruit for details on using a food dehydrator. Here is my mom’s great recipe for apple chips in the oven. We dried one apple of each of our first picking, and decided that macintosh make the best dried apples. I forgot to add the cinnamon, but they’re still very good. Our kids vote against the chewy skins, but I prefer to leave them on because (1) it’s easier and (2) they contain fiber.
2. Frozen applesauce: applesauce needs no recipe and no special equipment. Just core some apples, peeled or unpeeled, douse in cinnamon and perhaps a few Tablespoons of water, and cook until soft. You shouldn’t even need a sweetener, especially if you use a variety of apples in one pot.
Without skins, you can even just mix them up with a fork for chunky applesauce, or use a potato masher to get it a bit smoother.
For perfectly smooth sauce, or if you leave the skins on, use a hand blender in the pot or a full sized blender once it cools a bit. Applesauce freezes easily in any kind of container: plastic box, bag, or glass jar. (How to Freeze in Glass Jars)
3. Canned applesauce: if you’ve got a canner, you can just can the homemade applesauce, processing for 15 minutes for pints or 20 for quarts, half an inch headspace. Check an approved recipe to add some lemon juice or citric acid for safety.
Kate has a fun post over at Keeper of the Home on Making and Canning Applesauce with Kids, and Lindsay included a video in this post covering Easy Canned Applesauce with a Blender. The greatest purpose for canned applesauce at our house is to mix with homemade yogurt – I don’t need any sugar that way!
4. Frozen sliced: Raw apples freeze great as long as they’re destined for cooked dishes. You can sprinkle a little lemon juice on the slices to help prevent browning. I like to freeze 4-5 large, peeled Golden Delicious apples that can quickly go into a mid-winter apple pie. Don’t even thaw all the way before mixing and baking.
This is also an easy way to have a super quick dessert of baked apples: just toss some butter, brown sugar or maple syrup, and oats or chopped nuts on top, bake, and enjoy!
5. Applesauce fruit rolls: For those who don’t can, don’t have a food dehydrator, and are running out of freezer space, don’t despair! There’s hope for your multitudinous apples, too. Apple-cinnamon fruit rolls are a perfect toss-em-in-the-bag-and-forget-them sort of snack. They’re a fun piece of my Healthy Snacks to Go eBook (but I’ll share the secret here, too).
Just spread your homemade applesauce, heavy on the cinnamon, in my opinion, onto parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and bake at 200-250F until thoroughly dry, usually 1-2 hours. Watch closely so it doesn’t burn. (If you do have a dehydrator, make the rolls on unbleached parchment paper or trays on about 135F for 8-12 hours or until fully dried but not quite crispy.)
My favorite apple recipes:
- Apple Squares
- Grain-free Almond Apple Pancakes
- Caramelized Banana-Apple Dessert
- Apple Flax Muffins
- Asparagus Apple Salad
- Cocoa-Nut Almond Butter (a dip for apples)
I’ve also recently tried:
- Raw Applesauce (for the freezer, or to eat immediately – I had to wait until I got a Blendtec first)
- Fruit Scrap Vinegar (actually uses the junk leftover from making applesauce!) 8 more ways to use garbage in your cooking
Apple Recipes from around the Blogosphere:
- 5 Spice Apple Chutney (lacto-fermented)
- Michele’s 10 Best Apple Recipes (including Apple Walnut Pizza)
- Apple Salad
- Harvest Salad with Chicken, Apples and Cheddar