Last weekend we went apple picking. It is only now that I can see out from under my mountain of apples. We picked just over 25 lbs worth and only paid $25! Total deal, especially considering that we had a great time doing it and you can't beat the freshness.
But, this also meant that we had 25 lbs of apples! We primarily picked Grimes Golden and Jonathan as they are semi-tart apples good for cooking which we knew was what we would be doing with most of the apples. We also picked some Golden Delicious for eating. Note: I think Golden Delicious from the grocery store are certainly "golden" but rarely "delicious." They always seem to have a mealy texture. But just-picked, local Golden Delicious are, in fact, crunchy and delicious!
My husband made his annual apple pie using exclusively the Grimes Golden. It was fabulous! The husband's pie is a bit of an inexact science; never the same pie twice. This time included 6-8 sliced & peeled apples, a splash of vanilla, 1 tsp-ish of cinnamon, a splash of rum, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, and 2 Tbsp of flour all mixed together and put, expertly, between 2 Pilsbury pie crusts. I think it was his best pie yet. Another idea? ModernDomestic's Apple Turnovers. Or Smitten Kitchen's Apple Tart.
Next up? Apple sauce. I know, groan, apple sauce. But, seriously, this is wicked good apple sauce. I used 26 apples, a 50-50 mix of the Grimes Golden and the Jonathan. This was key as the Jonathan break down pretty easily while the Grimes retain their shape better. Thus yielding a delighfully smooth sauce with chunks here & there (my favorite consistancy). To the apples, I added about 2 cups of water (to aid in the cooking down), 2 long cinnamon sticks (from the Asian grocery store. Way cheaper spices there), 1 tsp of ground cloves and 2 Tbsp of dark brown sugar. Really, the cloves are what made this sauce, aside from the consistancy. After I made this, I canned it. It yielded 2 quart jars, 1 pint, and a small container for immediate consumption. Another idea? Chutney. Like Simply Recipes' or my version.
And, finally, I was left with probably 15 lbs of apples even after a large batch of apple sauce, an apple pie and snacking on a few apples throughout the day. I learned last year that if I don't process all of the apples, save the ones destined for raw consumption, the weekend they are picked, I just won't get around to it. So, I decided to freeze them. Basically, wash, peel and quarter your apples. Put them in a water-lemon juice mixture so they won't oxidize and then place on cookie sheets (or layer on a cookie sheet putting parchment or plastic wrap between the layers) and freeze (see first photo). Once (individually) frozen, you can place these into larger freezer bags and use the apples for future pies, sauces, cakes, chutneys... you name it! They won't be very good for using raw, these frozen apples. They'll get a bit mushy in the freezer (think frozen strawberries vs. fresh)
My other favorite ways to use apples:
- Dipped in caramel sauce
- Put slices or chunks into pancake batter (if going the slice route, place slices on batter once poured in pan)
- In stuffing