Eating local & in season can sometimes mean that you are absolutely surrounded by a specific fruit or vegetable for an extended period of time, and while that’s definitely not a bad thing, it can start to feel overwhelming. Even when you really love something, once you start running out of ideas, that food can turn into a struggle.
So today we’re talking apples. Lots & lots of beautiful valley apples.
We go through a ton of apples by eating them fresh, and thankfully, they store for a very long time in either the fridge or a cold room. Even still, when that crisper drawer starts to overflow, I have a few go-to favourites that can use as many or as few apples as you have on hand. Both recipes can be doubled or tripled easily.
No- there is no actual butter involved, just time, and apples, and a desire for a rich, almost caramel like spread. Makes 2x125ml canning jars.
6lbs apples (any kind)
2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 cup water
pinch of salt
Wash & quarter all apples & throw them into a pot- don’t worry about peels or cores. Add vinegar, water, and salt, and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium low and cook for 30 min, or until all apples are extremely soft and broken down. (Time will depend on how large your apple pieces are.)
Remove from heat and strain/push through a thin metal strainer or sieve with a wooden spoon to remove skin & core. (If you don’t have anything to use, you’ll just need to peel & core the apples before cooking. As you won’t get any natural pectin from the cores, it may just take a few extra minutes to cook down at the end.) The apple mixture should now be smooth, and resemble applesauce. Return to a heavy bottomed pot and cook over medium low heat for 35-45 minutes, stirring very frequently. The apple butter is done when almost all of the liquid is gone and it is a thick smooth paste.
This recipe doubles & triples well, and if you process with standard canning water bath, the jars will not require refrigeration, otherwise, use within a week or so. Amazing on hot buttered toast, pork, or as a sweet dip.
3lbs apples (any kind)
4 cups rolled oats
2 sticks butter melted
2 cups brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
pinch of salt
Remove cores & dice apples (you can peel them if you like but I never do. I love the flavour & it just means extra work and less goodness.) Melt butter and mix in brown sugar. In a large bowl, mix flour into diced apples until all are coated then add cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Add oats and butter/sugar and mix well. Bake covered for 45 min at 350 or until apples are soft. And when you eat it, fresh out of the oven, I strongly encourage a big scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Ok- there are 2 ideas for you if you’re feeling overwhelmed by all of the gorgeous apples we’re getting in our shares. Need more inspiration? How about a huge batch of apple pie filling? You can then can the jars with a water bath and be able to whip them out whenever you’re craving a pie or sweet treat with yogurt or ice cream, but short on time, like over the holidays or unexpected company. Next up….. did you know that you can freeze apples? It definitely changes the texture, but they’re perfect for cooking, and I always throw a few in the pot when I do ribs or pork roasts. To freeze them, quarter the apples & remove the cores, then toss the pieces with enough lemon juice to coat them to lessen discoloration. If you lay them flat on a cookie sheet for 15 minutes or so in the freezer before they go into a freezer bag, they won’t stick together in a big block, and you’ll be able to pull out as many as you need for cooking, baking, or even smoothies.
I hope this gives you some fresh ideas to enjoy all of these lovely local apples, because before you know it, they’ll be gone.
See you next week!