If you are enjoying an abundance of apples, here are several ways to use and preserve your apples, from apple sauce to apple cider to apple pie.
Orchards are even more personal in their charms than gardens, as they are more nearly human creations. Ornaments of the homestead, they subordinate other features of it; and such is their sway over the landscape that house and owner appear accidents without them. So men delight to build in an ancient orchard, when so fortunate to possess one, that they may live in the beauty of its surrounding. Orchards are among the most coveted possessions; trees of ancient standing, and vines, being firm friends and loyal neighbors forever. The profits, too, are as wonderful as their longevity. And if antiquity can add any worth to a thing, what possession has a man more noble than these, so unlike most others which are best at first, and grow worse till worth nothing; while fruit trees and vines increase in worth and goodness for ages.
– Amos Bronson Alcott (1799-1888)
1. New York Stove Top Applesauce
2. Apple Butter
3. Apple Preserves
4. Old Fashioned Apple Pie
5. Making Vinegar at Home
6. Apple Cider
7. Apple Jack
7. Apple Snacks
New York Stove Top Applesauce
6 cups (6 medium) of McIntosh, Crispin, Jonagold and Cortland apples cut into 3/4-inch pieces
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup Turbinado sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Combine apples, 3/4 cup water and sugar in heavy medium saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until apples are very tender and skins are softened, about 40 minutes.
Uncover and simmer until almost all liquid in saucepan has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in lemon juice and cinnamon. Cool 30 minutes
Using fork or potato masher, mash apple mixture until coarse and chunky. Serve at room temperature or refrigerate until cold.
Makes about 3 cups.
8 lbs. apples
2 cups cider
2 cups vinegar
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp ground cloves
Wash, remove stems, quarter and core fruit. Cook slowly in cider and vinegar until soft. Press fruit through a colander, food mill, or strainer. Cook fruit pulp with sugar and spices, stirring frequently. To test for doneness, remove a spoonful and hold it away from steam for 2 minutes. It is done if the butter remains mounded on the spoon. Another way to determine when the butter is cooked adequately is to spoon a small quantity onto a plate. When a rim of liquid does not separate around the edge of the butter, it is ready for processing.
To preserve apple butter:
Sterilize canning jars. Pour hot butter into hot half-pint or pint jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe jar rims and adjust lids. Process 5 minutes in a boiling water bath. (Use a good reference book for more about the water bath canning process.)
Source: So Easy to Preserve, 5th ed., Cooperative Extension, the University of Georgia (2006)
6 cups peeled, cored, sliced apples
1 cup water
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 package powdered pectin
1/2 lemon, thinly sliced (optional)
4 cups sugar
2 tsp ground nutmeg
Combine apples, water and lemon juice in a large saucepot. Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Stir in pectin and bring to a full rolling boil, stirring frequently. Add lemon slices (optional) and sugar. Return to a full rolling boil. Boil hard 1 minute, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; add nutmeg.
Sterilize canning jars. Pour hot preserves (after boiling hard 1 minute) into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe jar rims and adjust lids. Process 5 minutes in a boiling water bath. (Use a good reference book for more about the water bath canning process.)
Source: So Easy to Preserve, 5th ed., Cooperative Extension, the University of Georgia (2006)
Old-Fashioned Apple Pie
Have everything cold; do not make the dough too moist; use pastry flour if possible; roll only once. Paste kept on ice over night becomes much more flaky than when first made. To prevent the lower crust from becoming soaked brush with whites of egg. Brush the edge with unheated whites of egg or water and press the two crusts together with the thumb and finger, a pastry roller or the tines of a fork. Always leave an opening in the center of the upper crust that the steam may escape. Bake pies having a cooked filling in a quick oven and those with an uncooked filling in a moderate oven. Let pies cool upon plates on which they are made because slipping them onto cold plates develops moisture, which always destroys the crispness of the lower crust.
Sift one cup of flour and one-fourth teaspoon of salt into a bowl rub into it five level tablespoons of shortening until the whole is reduced to a fine powder; add cold water slowly to make a stiff dough. Place on a slightly floured board and roll into a circular shape to fit the plate. Fit it loosely into the plate as it shrinks when baked.
Line a pie plate with good paste. Fill with thin slices of good cooking apples; sprinkle with one-half cup of sugar which has been mixed with a heaping teaspoon of flour and a pinch of salt; cover with an upper crust and bake in a moderate oven for half an hour.
Apple Custard Pie
Heat a pint of milk steaming hot and pour it into a mixture of three eggs slightly beaten, three heaping tablespoons of sugar, a pinch of salt, and a very little nutmeg or lemon. Grate one cup of apple using mellow slightly tart fruit; add to the milk mixture and bake in a very moderate oven without an upper crust. If the pie is baked too quickly the apple will separate from the milk.
Soak and stew apples until tender, pass through a sieve and add sugar, a little orange or lemon rind, and a small amount of butter. Fill and bake as any other pie. Serve warm with sweetened cream.
Shaker Apple Pie
Pare, core, and cut into eighths sour apples and put into a lower crust; add a half a pint of seeded raisins. Put on the upper crust being careful to not let it stick to the lower crust. Bake in a slow oven until the apples are thoroughly cooked and the crust is nicely browned. This will require about forty minutes. While the pie is hot take off the top crust and lay it aside, then with a wooden or silver knife stir the apples and remove any hard pieces that may be left. Add sugar, nutmeg, and a small piece of butter and replace the top crust.
Recipes from The Encyclopedia of Practical Horticulture published in 1914 in North Yakima, Washington. Quoting associate editor Wm. Worthington, “A very complete department of recipes for cooking, preserving and serving the various fruits and vegetables is given.” The collection was edited by Miss Alice M. Hodge, Stout Institute, Menominee, Wisconsin.
Making Vinegar at Home
Two factors require special attention when making vinegar at home: oxygen supply and temperature. Oxygen is spread throughout the mixture by stirring it daily and by letting air reach the fluid through a cheesecloth filter, which is used in place of a regular lid. The temperature of fermenting cider should be kept between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit (F). Lower temperatures do not always produce a usable vinegar, and higher ones interfere with the formation of the “mother of vinegar.” Mother of vinegar is a mat that forms on the bottom of fermenting wine that has gone bad.
Do not use a metal container when making vinegar; acid in the mixture will corrode metal or aluminum objects. Glass, plastic, wood, enamel, or stainless steel containers should be used for making or storing vinegar. The same holds true for making or storing foods that have more than 1 Tablespoon of vinegar in the recipe.
Steps for Making Cider Vinegar
The following steps must be followed to make a high-quality cider vinegar:
1. Make a clean cider from ripe apples.
2. Change all of the fruit sugar to alcohol. This is called “yeast fermentation.”
3. Change all of the alcohol to acetic acid. This is called “acetic acid fermentation.”
4. Clarify the acetic acid to prevent further fermentation and decomposition.
Step 1–Making Cider
Cider is made from the winter and fall varieties of apples (summer and green apples do not contain enough sugar). Fruit should be gathered, then washed well to remove debris. Crush the fruit to produce apple pulp and strain off the juice. Use a press or cheesecloth for straining.
Adding yeast to activate fermentation is not essential, but will speed up the process. Special cultivated yeasts are available for this purpose at wine-making shops and biological labs–bread yeasts are not recommended. To make a starter, crumble one cake of yeast into one quart of cider. This makes enough starter for 5 gallons of cider; double the recipe proportionately when making more.
Steps 2 and 3–Making Alcohol and Acetic Acid
Pour all of the liquid into one or more containers to about three-quarters capacity; do not close the lids on the containers. Stir the mixtures daily. Keep the containers away from direct sunlight and maintain the temperature at 60 to 80 degrees F. Full fermentation will take about 3 to 4 weeks. Near the end of this period, you should notice a vinegar-like smell. Taste samples daily until the desired strength is reached.
When the vinegar is fully fermented, filter the liquid through several layers of fine cheesecloth or filter paper–a coffee filter works well for this. This removes the mother of vinegar, preventing further fermentation or spoilage of the product.
Storing Your Vinegar
The vinegar is now ready for storage in separate, capped containers. Stored vinegar will stay in excellent condition almost indefinitely if it is pasteurized. To pasteurize, heat the vinegar before pouring it into sterilized bottles, or bottle, then place in a hot water bath. In both cases, the temperature of the vinegar must reach at least 140 degrees F to sterilize the product, and should not exceed 160 degrees F. Use a cooking thermometer to ensure the correct temperature is met. Cool the containers and store at room temperature out of direct sunlight.
Flavoring can be added to homemade vinegar just before bottling. Good examples of additives include green onion, garlic, ginger, or any combination of dried or fresh herbs. To make flavoring, place material in a small cheesecloth bag and suspend in the vinegar until desired strength is reached. This will take about 4 days, except for garlic, which takes only 1 day. For every 2 cups of vinegar, use one of the following: 1/2 cup crushed fresh herbs, 1 tablespoon of dried herbs, 2 large cloves of garlic, or 8 small green onions. Other good flavorings include tarragon, basil, nasturtium, chives, mint, chervil, borage, hot chilies, and raspberries. Adjust the amounts to taste, but be careful not to overload the vinegar. Too much vegetable matter can destroy the acid and ruin the preservative quality of the vinegar.
Some flavorings may not go well with cider vinegar’s distinct taste and color. When flavoring store-bought vinegar, use more delicate or decorative flavors. When flavoring store-bought vinegar, you will still need to pasteurize it and use sterile bottles.
Flavored vinegars taste great and have a beautiful color, making them excellent for use in salads. You will be tempted to display flavored vinegar; however, be sure to keep your bottles out of direct sunlight, which will destroy the flavor, acidity, and color of the vinegar.
Because the acidity of homemade vinegars will vary, do not use them in foods to be canned or stored at room temperature. Homemade vinegar is, however, excellent in salads, cooking, or freezer and refrigerator pickled products.
Prepared by Christine Nicholas, Intern Doris Herringshaw, Extension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences, The Ohio State University Extension, Human Nutrition, Columbus, OH
* 1 gallon apple juice (or 16 pounds apples)
* 1 cup granulated sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon yeast energizer
* 1 1/2 teaspoon acid blend
* 1/2 teaspoon pectic enzyme
* 1 campden tablet
* 1 package champagne yeast (for 1 to 5 gallons)
Place chopped fruit or juice in primary fermentor. Add balance of ingredients. Stir to dissolve sugar. Stir daily for 5 to 6 days or until frothing ceases. Strain out fruit and squeeze as much juice out of it as you can. Siphon into secondary fermentor and attach airlock.
Rack in three weeks, and again every 2 months until the cider is clear.
Gently stir in 1/4 cup sugar per gallon. Bottle in champagne bottles or clean pop bottles. Age three months.
Early settlers made this by setting their apple cider outside in the winter and allowing it to become slushy. They would then skim the frozen water off of the surface, leaving a “hardened” cider behind. Commercially, it is now distilled. This is illegal for the home brewer, but the freezing method is effective.
First, make Apple Cider (recipe above). Skip the final step, and allow it to age the three months in the secondary fermentor.
Second, siphon it back into the primary fermentor. If you have a deep freeze, put the primary fermentor in it overnight. If not, use ice cream buckets and the fridge freezer. Remember to leave room for the water to expand when it freezes.
The alcohol will not freeze, so it is forced into the center of the container when the cider is frozen. The brewer then has the option of either skimming the ice off of the surface, or siphoning the alcohol out of the center. The siphoning method will result in a higher alcohol content than the skimming method.
Alternatively, you could follow this method using your favourite Apple Wine recipe.
Start with a good quantity of fruit! The process of drying fruit removes moisture which results in considerable shrinkage of volume of fruit. You will need to start with a lot of fruit to be sure of a good quantity of dried product at the end of the process! Dried pear slices or pear leather make delicious, take anywhere, eat anytime snacks!
Select firm textured apples for drying. To prepare the fruit, wash and slice into 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices. Pre-treat with a lemon juice/water solution (1 cup of lemon juice to 1 quart of water) or an Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) solution to prevent browning. Place slices onto drying rack. Dry fruit at 135° F. When fruit is pliable and there is no sign of moisture it can be stored in air tight bags or jars. After proper drying, apples and pears will keep in a cool, dry place from six months to a year.
Any summer or winter variety of pear is suitable for drying. Pears should be ripe. Wash and slice. Pre-treat with lemon/water or ascorbic acid solution if you like. Dry at 135° F until leathery and there is no moisture present. Makes a great, sweet snack. Store carefully in air tight bags or jars. Keep in a cool, dry place.
Basic Fruit Leather
Pureed fruit can be dried on special, heavy plastic sheets in your electric dehydrator. To prepare apples or pears for leather making, wash fruit thoroughly, remove seeds, puree in a blender or food processor until smooth. Mixture should be of pouring consistency. It is important to add honey to help keep the leather pliable when dried. If the puree is too thick, add liquid to thin. If too tart, add more honey or sugar. Heat apple or pear mixture to 190° F to prevent oxidization, cool before pouring onto dehydrator trays. Coat trays with a layer of fruit puree about 1/8 inch thick. Dry at 135° F until leathery. Be careful there are no moisture pockets. Roll up fruit leather while warm, wrap in plastic and store. Makes a great, easy to pack snack for any outing.
Applesauce Puree for Fruit Roll-ups
Make applesauce by quartering the apples, trimming off the blossom and stems ends, put in pan and add a little water. Simmer, stirring frequently, until soft. Put the cooked apples through a food mill or strainer to remove the peels and seeds. Add about 1 tablespoon honey per cup of applesauce to keep the fruit leather pliable so it can be rolled up. This results in a nice smooth puree for making fruit leather. (If it’s too thick to spread easily, add more water.)
Fruit Leather Made from Applesauce Puree
Lightly grease dehydrator trays and spread puree evenly and thinly onto trays. Set temperature at 130-140° F. (55-60° C.) and dry until fruit leather feels dry and pliable, with no sticky spots. Remove from trays and cut into pieces. Roll in wax paper and fasten rolls with a strip of freezer tape. For long-term storage, put roll-ups in freezer bags or quart yogurt containers and store in freezer.
How to Prepare Dried Apples for Use in Apple Pie Filling and Sauces
1/2 pound dried apples
2 1/2 – 3 c. water (or more)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cloves
Sugar to taste (1/2 c. for slight sweetness up to 2 c. for those who like it super sweet)
Combine dried apples with water in heavy saucepan, place over low heat. Simmer, covered, until apples have the consistency of thick preserves. Add more liquid as needed. Be careful heat is not too high. Stir periodically to prevent scorching. When thickened consistency is reached, remove from heat and stir in spices. Taste and add sugar as need. Let cool completely. Use as filling in such recipes as Fried Apple Pies. Left over filling will keep covered in the refrigerator for about a week. Also makes a nice sauce garnish for roasted pork and poultry.