Caramel Apples

No corn syrup here. Just delicious good stuff. Pick up mini skewers at the grocery store and you’re all set.

8 small apples
1 cup cream
1 cup honey
1/2 tsp. kosher salt

optional toppings:
hazelnuts, chopped
sea salt
or anything else you’d like to roll into your caramel

  1. Prepare. Wash apples, press sticks into the top, and place in the refrigerator to chill. Line a baking sheet or cutting board with a sheet of parchment. Fill a metal bowl with ice and water. Set aside. Place each topping in a small bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, mix cream and salt. Over medium heat, bring barely to a simmer.
  3. Stir in honey. Increase the heat slightly and bring mixture to a boil.
  4. Reduce the heat so that the mixture simmers vigorously (more active than a simmer, but less than a boil). Stir gently and constantly while it continues to simmer vigorously for 15-20 minutes. With a candy thermometer, the temperature should measure between 255-260F. Your caramel will change to a darker brown color and become thick.
  5. Place the saucepan with caramel in the cold water bath that you prepared. Dip the apples in and roll pan to cover. You may have to reheat the caramel very briefly, if it thickens too much.
  6. Dip into your toppings.
  7. Cool and enjoy.

Adapted from this.

Savory Fried Apples

Now that it’s fall, apples are in abundance. This savory side pairs well with pork. (Consider stuffed pork chops.)

2 large apples (honeycrisp)
1 small cippolini onion
1 tsp. brown sugar
1 tbls. brandy
1 tbls. butter
3 blades of mace*
5 sage leaves, torn
1 bay leaf

  1. Heat a 12-inch pan over medium heat. (You want enough space to spread your apples out.)
  2. Peel and core the apples. Cut into 1/4 inch thick slices.
  3. Add half of the butter to the pan. Allow to melt. Add apples.
  4. Mince onion and add.
  5. Add mace and bay leaf. Sprinkle the top of the apples with brown sugar. Allow to cook for about 5-10 minutes until apples begin to soften, only stirring once or twice.
  6. Add brandy and remaining butter. Toss to coat. Cook until apples begin to look brown, about another 5-10 minutes. (Undisturbed apples begin to have a mild crust.) Add sage and cook 5 minutes more.

Hold the apples by turning the temperature to low. Be sure to remove bay leaf and mace before serving.

*Mace is the dried outside of the nutmeg. We have it in our cupboard for sausage making and get it from Penzeys (coming soon to Seattle!) You could probably substitute a dash of nutmeg.

Yes, we can can!

Applesauce! Well, I did it. I swallowed my fear and plunged those glass jars in that boiling water. No explosions. No applesauce on the ceiling. Nothing but little happy sealed jars all lined up on my counter. Hooray! I feel like I’ve gone through some rite of passage. I can can!!

A few weeks ago, I saw a posting on the ‘Buy Local Food in Kitsap‘ website hailing the availability of fruit. All One Family Farm had apples and pears available, so I gratefully ordered up 30 pounds. We picked them up from Rob and his daughter this past weekend.  Fruit is back on the menu! Be gone deep, dark winter! The apples are roll-your-eyes-back-in-your-head good, and I’m trying to wait patiently for the pear on my counter to ripen. I made applesauce from 11 pounds of the juicing apples and stored the rest (in paper wrappers and a cardboard box) in the garage.  (“Not near the potatoes and onions!” said R.)

Homemade Applesauce

11 pounds juicing or sauce apples (I’m ashamed to say that I forgot to ask what kind they were.)
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon

I’d recommend that you thoroughly read through the National Center for Home Food Preservation recipe and recommendations for beginning canners, if you’re new to this, like I was.

  1. Rinse the apples.Prepare yourself. Do you have everything you need? Rack? Jar lifter? (Ok. I used tongs and it was touch and go. I’d recommend spending the extra couple of dollars and getting yourself a jar lifter. While you’re at it, spring for the funnel, too.) Wash your jars, lids, and rings. (I ran the jars through the dishwasher and kept them warm in there until it was time to fill.)
  2. Wash apples. Start slicing. You don’t need to peel the apples or even worry about the core too much. Cut the apples first in half, cut out the stem and the blossom end. Hack the rest into even chunks. Drop the chunks into a pot that is going to be big enough to hold them all.Cut the apples into even chunks.
  3. Add enough water to halfway cover the apples. Cover and bring to a low boil for about 30-45 minutes or until tender (when poked with a butterknife.)
  4. Run the cooked apples, in batches, through a food mill. Run the apples through a foodmill or chinois.(Maybe you’re lucky enough to have an old-fashioned mashing tool, which I now know is called a chinois.) I chose my largest disc; the holes were too small for seeds to fit through. My applesauce was pleasingly chunky.
  5. Return the sauce to the pot, mix in sugar and cinnamon to taste. Bring the sauce to a boil and prepare to fill jars!
  6. Process according to your jar directions or NCHFP’s directions. I processed my pint size jars in boiling water for 20 minutes.  I made sure that my rings were on but not tightly screwed down on the lids.
  7. Spread out the jars on a cooling rack and try not to impatiently poke them. Wait about 12 hours before storing.

Many thanks to my friend, A., who is an experienced applesauce maker and who, over the phone, talked me down from panic midway through the process.

How to Dehydrate Apples

Dehydrating is a great way to preserve the flavors of summer and fall. The hardest part is the emotional part – taking delicious plump fruit and willingly committing it to becoming a dry, shriveled memory of itself. I put a lot of cherries away this summer and, though it was hard not to gobble them up when they were fresh, I’m looking forward to using them soon.

Apples take a little preparation. They’ve got a variety of uses, though, so its worth it.

1. Before you begin, prepare your apple bath. I used 1 tsp. of citric acid mixed into 1 quart of water. (I have citric acid for cheesemaking.) You can also use equal parts lemon juice and water.

dehydrateapples

2. First, peel and core the apples. Slice them into even 1/4 inch pieces. As soon as you’ve sliced them, toss them in the prepared bath to soak.

3. When you’re all finished slicing, spread the apples on the trays of your dehydrator. Do not overlap them. If it has a temperature, set it to 135F.

4. Dehydrate your apples for about 4-6 hours. (I know that’s vague, but you really need to check in on them after 4 hours and then decide how far you want to let them go.)

applesindehydrator

Uses ffinishedapplesor your dehydrated apples:

  • mix into oatmeal
  • use when making granola
  • munch as a crispy snack
  • mix into cereals
  • add to a trail mix

I referenced CO State University pamphlet on the National Center for Home Food Preservation’s website.