There is nothing quite as satisfying as the first bite of a freshly harvested apple. In many areas of the country autumn is the time of year when apples are abundant and ready for the harvest. Picking apples while they are in season and preserving them for use throughout the year is a time-honored tradition throughout the mid-west. Whether you have your own orchard or just enjoy the experience of visiting one, once bushels of apples have been plucked from the trees there is often the question of what to do with them all. Have no fear. Apples are one of the rare fruits that can lend themselves to all types of dishes, both sweet and savory. They are easy to store and can be frozen or canned with minimal hassle. Homemade applesauce can be canned and stored easily as well, and you will find that it can be used in many creative and appetizing ways.
Storing Unblemished Apples
Fresh apples can be kept just as they are for up to four months, if you store them in the proper conditions. Individually wrap each apple in a sheet of newspaper, and store in a cool, dry location, which is out of direct sunlight. Wrapping the apples this way prevents them from touching one another during storage. Do not use apples with bruises or cuts on the surface for long-term storage. Any damage to the skin will increase the rate of spoilage.
Frozen apples can keep for a year or longer, when stored at 0 degrees F. Peel, slice and core the apples and dip each slice in lemon juice or an ascorbic acid mixture in order to prevent browning. Pack the slices into freezer bags. Press out excess air and seal. Use apples stored this way in either sweet or savory dishes.
You can also freeze apples in a sugar syrup or your favorite brand of 100 percent juice. Apples frozen in this way are best used in sweet dishes, such as pies and cakes.
Apples can be canned in a sugar syrup and later used for pies, cakes and other sweet recipes.
To can 16 cups of sliced, peeled apples:
Bring to a boil 4 cups of sugar and 10 cups of water. Add 3 TBSP lemon juice. Pack apples into clean canning jars. Pour the boiling sugar solution over the apples, leaving a 1/2 inch head space in the jars. Seal with sterilized canning lids. Process jars in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.
If desired add your choice of spices to the cooking liquid, such as cinnamin, nutmeg, cloves etc…
Peel, core and slice 16 cups of apples.
Place in a large pan with lid.
Add 3 and 1/2 cups of water AND 1 cup white or brown sugar.
Cook over medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat and cool.
Mash or puree the cooked apples until smooth.
Using Whole Apples:
Core apples. Using a sharp knife score from the top of each cored apple about 2/3 of the way to the bottom, leaving enough of the apple in tact to retain a shell. Repeat, cutting in the opposite direction.
Mix 2 packages cream cheese with one eight ounce container unflavored yogurt. Add enough apple juice to make a smooth dip. Fill the hollow of the apples with the fruit dip, and bring sides up. To eat simply peel a scored section of the apple.
Baked Dessert Apples
Wash and core apples using one per person.
For each apple- Toss together 1 cup day old bread- cubed, 2 TBLS brown sugar and 1 to 2 tsp cinnamin.
Fill the hollow of the apple with the bread stuffing.
Place the apples in a baking pan and pour 2 to 3 cups of apple juice over the apples.
Cover with tin foil.
Place in a 400 degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes, basting the apples with juice twice during cooking.
Quick Carmel Apples
Before beginning line a cookie sheet with waxed paper. Spray the paper with cooking spray. If you are going to roll the apples in nuts, have them ready, in a bowl near your work area.
Spray a non-stick saucepan with cooking spray.
Over low heat melt one bag carmels with 2 TBLS heavy cream.
Slide a skewer or wooden craft stick into the bottom of an apple.
Quickly dip the apple into the melted carmel, swirling to ensure even covered.
Roll the apple in chopped nuts.
Place on the prepared sheet of waxed paper.
What to Do With Extra Applesauce
Applesauce can be used in place of eggs when baking cakes, cupcakes and cookies. To substitute eggs for applesauce eliminate both the eggs and the liquid from the recipe. The amount of applesauce you add should be the amount of liquid called for in the recipe. An example follows
To substitute applesauce for eggs in a cake mix:
1 cake mix
1 cup water
3/4 cup oil
1 cake mix
3/4 cup oil
1 cup applesauce
Mix and bake as directed.
Sweet Apple Swirl Ice Cream
Soften one container of vanilla ice cream until it can be easily stirred.
Add two cups applesauce (spiced or sweetened if you prefer). Swirl gently but do not mix. Refreeze until hardened.