Cooking & Baking with Apples

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There are lots of recipes that call for apples and it’s not too difficult to figure out what to do with excess apples. You can only eat so many apple pies, apple cobblers and apple fritters in a week!

One easy thing to make is homemade apple sauce (and apple butter). You can even ‘can’ this!

I shared ‘one’ applesauce recipe back a couple of weeks ago. It’s here (Applesauce recipe using 12 lbs of apples)

But this recipe works too, just on a smaller scale.

Homemade Apple Sauce

8 medium apples
1.5 cups of water
½ cup of sugar (you can add less if you like a less sweet sauce)
1 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)

Start by washing, peeling and coring your apples. Chop them into bite-sized chunks and add them to a large saucepan. Add the remaining ingredients.

The sugar is variable. Start by adding half of it, unless you’re dealing with tart apples. Taste your apple sauce and add more towards the end. The cinnamon is optional. If you like cinnamon in your applesauce, add it, if not, feel free to leave it out. Of course you can also use more or less according to taste.

Bring the apple mixture to a simmer and cook covered on medium heat until the apples are soft. This should take about 15 to 20 minutes depending on the size of your chunks and the apple variety.

Mash it into apple sauce with a potato masher, a fork, or an immersion blender.

applesauce
applesauce

Homemade Apple Butter

Apple butter cooks slow and low. The easiest way to prepare it is in the slow cooker. Here’s what you need:

4 pounds of apples
3 cups of sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of ground cloves
Pinch of salt

Start by peeling, coring and chopping your apples. Put them in the slow cooker. Mix the sugar, salt and spices and pour them over the apples. Put the lid on and cook the mixture on high for one hour. Turn the slow cooker to low and cook it an additional 10 hours. Stir it occasionally. Your apple butter is ready when it is brown and starts to thicken.

There’s a Catfish restaurant not too far from me that walks around with a fresh tray of little apple fritters and passes them out -complimentary- to all the diners. Oh man….there’s nothing finer than a fresh warm apple fritter!

Apple Fritters

• 1 pound of apples
• 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 tbsp. sugar
• 2 tsp baking powder
• pinch of salt
• 2/3 cup of milk
• 2 eggs
• 1 tbsp. oil plus oil for frying

• Optional: Cinnamon Sugar

Start by peeling, coring, and chopping your apples. Set them aside.
Heat the oil for frying to about 375F.
Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Whisk the milk, eggs and 1 tbsp. of oil in a smaller bowl until well combined. Pour this wet mixture into the large bowl and mix until your batter is well combined. Fold in the apple pieces.

Drop the apple batter into the hot oil by the spoonful and fry until golden brown. Don’t overcrowd the pot and give the oil a chance to heat back up between batches. Remove the fritters and drain them on a plate lined with paper towels. Toss in the cinnamon sugar as soon as the fritters are cool enough to handle and enjoy while warm.

Not into frying? How about a baked apple?

Baked Apples

• 4 large apples
• 1/2 cup of brown sugar
• 4 tbsp. butter
• 2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Wash your apples, and using a melon baller scoop out the core of the apples from the top, creating a whole. Be careful not to scoop all the way to the bottom. You don’t want your filling to leak.

Gently spoon two tbsps. of brown sugar in each apple, top with 1 tbsp. of butter and sprinkle with cinnamon. Place the filled apples into a shallow baking dish.

Bake for 15 minutes or until the apples are tender. The sugar and butter will melt together, and start to caramelize. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.

Still have apples?

Apples And Pork Chops

• 6 pork chops
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 4 apples
• 2 tbsp butter
• 1/4 c. brown sugar
• 1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Melt the butter in an oven-proof skillet. A cast iron pan works really well for this. Season the pork chops with salt and pepper and brown on both sides.

In the meantime, peel, core, and slice the apples. Lay them on top of and around the pork chops in the pan. Combine the brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the apples.

Cover everything with foil and bake for 90 minutes.

OR try Apple & Rosemary Stuffed Pork Chops
or Apple & Fennel Roasted Pork Tenderloin

apples
apples

I touched briefly on the difference between baking and cooking apples but here’s a more comprehensive list so that you can learn the differences in different varieties of apples.

Crispin Apples

Crispin’s are large apples with a yellow-green skin. With their sweet flavor, these crisp yet juicy apples are perfect for baking pies and making apple sauce.

Empire Apples

Empires are a cross between McIntosh and Red Delicious. This is a great apple that works for just about anything including baking. They are also delicious and freeze well.

Gala Apples

Gala apples are great for eating and to make apple sauce. Don’t try to bake with these apples. They tend to fall apart when you cook them.

Golden Delicious

These apples keep their shape well during baking, making them perfect for pies. They are also delicious eating apples that store well.

Granny Smith

This is one of the most popular apples around and for good reason. They are perfect for eating raw and hold up well in pies and crisps. You may want to add a little extra sugar or honey to balance out the tart flavor of these green apples.

Honeycrisp

This is a fairly new apple variety that’s crisp and juicy. As you bite into these apples you’ll notice a light honey flavor.

Ida Red

This is a very old apple variety. Ida Reds keep their shape during baking and even freeze well. Perfect for using them for baking and in apple sauce.

Jonagold

These apples are a blend of Jonathan and Golden Delicious apples. They are best eaten fresh or used in apple sauce.

Jonathan

Jonathan apples are anther variety that’s perfect for baking pies and cakes. They hold their shape well and have a nice crisp flavor.

McIntosh

This is another apple that’s best eaten fresh from the tree. They don’t hold up well to baking, but make delicious apple sauce.

Red Delicious

Like the McIntosh apples, this is another variety that’s best used for eating.

Winesap

This is a firm but sweet apple that holds up well in baking and makes a great addition to your apple sauce as well.

Arkansas Black Apple
This apple is hard to find and it’s believed to be related to the Winesap apple. These apples tend to be smaller but good for fresh eating, cooking, juicing, cider, and drying. They’re called black because in storage they can become quite dark in color.

apples for pie
apples for pie

Don’t be afraid to pick up a different apple variety, you know, something out of your normal buying practice. That’s how you learn to like new varieties. Introduce these other varieties to your kids. This helps teach them the different kinds of apples and helps keep the diversity growing strong. What do I mean by that? Take the banana for instance. Virtually all the commercial grown bananas that you find at your grocery store are the same THE SAME variety. They were propagated by cuttings. This means that every single plant is a identical to it’s source. This also means that IF that variety were to fall victim to a plant disease that practically all the world’s production of bananas would be lost. Let’s keep the variety in apples. Try something new to you.