Two Seasonal Recipes for those Extra Apples!
The fall brings us so many delicious varieties of local apples. I was recently lucky to get some organic golden delicious apples right off the tree from my mother-in-law! We had more than we could possibly eat so I decided to make two of my favourite apple things:
apple butter and raw apple cider vinegar! I believe in eating in season as much as possible and try not to waste, so these recipes go perfectly hand-in-hand!
If you love apple butter and like to occasionally have a sweet treat now and then, here's an easy low-maintenance recipe that doesn't require much attention; all you need is a large crockpot that has a timer option and low-setting.
*If you prefer a super smooth apple butter, you will want to put them through a blender before jarring.
25-30 small organic apples (you can use a mix of different ones if you like)
2 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp ground nutmeg
1 tbsp of cinnamon
*makes about 5 cups
Peel and chop up the apples into cubes (this makes things a bit easier for the crockpot to break down) but save the peels and cores if you want to make the next recipe! If not, be sure to compost them ;)
Place all the apples and remaining ingredients into the crockpot and stir until every apple piece is coated. Then turn on low setting for about 18 hours.
Once it become super dark and rich looking, you can mash or blend the apples for a super smooth texture before canning them.
Your house will smell amaaaazing!
Apple butter is sort of a cross between jam and apple sauce. It's quite sweet like jam (so don't eat too much at once) and can be used the same way you would use jam. I like to top 2 teaspoons of this into some soaked oats for an apple-pie flavour! Yum!
You may preserve it like you would any other homemade jam.
Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
Raw apple cider vinegar is incredible for your health and it's easy to incorporate into your daily diet. You've probably seen this product in stores, in the natural foods isle, and its about 3x the price of the pasteurized version. Here, you can make it at home for pennies!
Especially, if you use your scraps from the above apple butter apples!
This is more of an 'guesstimate' recipe. You can taste and smell when it's ready!
I adapted my recipe from The Healthy Home Economist. I didn't bother with other types of apples and I made two batches from them instead of 3.
Apples (whole or peels and cores) *organic* is best
1 cup honey or sugar
About 1 litre of water (more or less depending on how many apples you have)
I used all the peels and cores from the above recipe, though you can do this with as little as 5 apples.
Cover the top with a cheesecloth, or paper to make sure no little bugs get inside (fruit flies love ACV!). It will take 2-3 weeks to fully ferment. It should taste super sour and should smell like regular vinegar. Strain the liquid and store in a cute bottle!
If you are pregnant and concerned with fermented food safety, you may boil the vinegar afterwards to pasteurize it and just enjoy it as any other shelf vinegar, or wait until you're in your postpartum period to consider using this amazing fermented food! There are a 101 ways to use ACV and it has multiple benefits for your health-- from balancing blood sugar, to promoting healthy gut flora to detoxifying your immune system! It really is one of my all time favourite nutritional tools.
If you'd like to read more about it's benefits and or safety, Braggs carries a raw apple cider vinegar and has a good FAQ on their product. It is stated as safe for pregnancy and that the pH of ACV is too acidic for the 0-157 strain of E. Coli bacteria to survive. Keep in mind that though the fermentation process is still the same at home, you are responsible for quality control unlike a store bought product which is manufactured in a factory.
Once your apple cider vinegar has been made, you may store it in the fridge or in a cupboard away from sunlight and heat. It should last a good 2 years if it's been done right, though you'll probably use it up well before then.
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