Move over, pumpkin – it’s time to talk about that other autumn classic: apples. Whether you’re looking to whip up a piping hot cider or want to get your bake on with a fresh batch you recently picked from the orchard, there’s a plethora of ways to incorporate apples into your everyday meals. One of the most important factors, however, involves proper preservation. (Say goodbye to the dreaded browning). From cider recipes to apple-related hacks, we answer some of your biggest questions about everyone’s favourite fall fruit.
How to Make Apple Juice
If you’ve already had your fill of apple pie and apple dumplings in recent weeks, it’s time to satisfy your cravings with the season’s fruit favourite another way: homemade juice. (Psst, it’s also a lot easier to make than you’d think — and doesn’t involve a blender or juicer).
1. Wash, quarter and core the apples, making sure to remove all the seeds. Peeling isn’t necessary, it’s baker’s choice.
2. Add apples to a pot of water (just enough liquid to cover the fruit, otherwise your juice will turn out too watery). Boil the apples for 20-30 minutes, until soft.
3. Slowly pour contents from the pot into a mesh strainer with a bowl underneath, gently mashing the softened apples with the back of a large spoon or ladle. The juice will be filtered while the apple mush remains behind.
4. Once the juice is cooled, add sugar or cinnamon, depending on personal preference.
5. Keep refrigerated and enjoy within one week of making.
Related: The Pioneer Woman’s Irresistible Apple Desserts
How to Make Apple Cider
If you’ve been apple picking lately, grab the largest pot you own and get simmering! (Hot tip: if you like your cider sweet, opt for the Fuji, Gala or Red Delicious varieties, while those who prefer their cider tart should go with McIntosh, Granny Smith or Pink Lady apples).
1. To start, add quartered apples, one sliced orange, one piece of peeled ginger, one tablespoon of black peppercorns, two cinnamon sticks, two teaspoons of cloves and a half cup of brown sugar to an oversized pot.
2. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Let it simmer for at least two hours. Alternatively, you can do this in your slow cooker for up to five hours. Although there are 15-minute variations for apple cider, more time in the pot or slow cooker will allow all the flavours blend together and will leave your kitchen smelling divine.
3. Strain apple mixture through a sieve, discard solid pieces and serve hot. Bonus: freshly made apple cider can last for up to two weeks in the fridge! Find more apple cider recipes to try this fall.
Want to try the “grown up” version? Get the recipe for Nancy Fuller’s Sparkling Apple Cider or if you’ve got extra time on your hands, try the Slow Cooker Hard Cider variation pictured above.
Related: Refrigerator Rules: How Long Do Leftovers Last?
How to Freeze Apples
If you’ve picked more than your usual amount of apples from the orchard this year, don’t let all that fine fall fruit go to waste. There’s a simple hack that will preserve your leftover apples for up to a year!
1. Peel and core apples, cutting them into thin eighths or bite-size chunks – baker’s choice.
2. Once all the slicing and dicing is done, give them a five-minute soak in a water and lemon juice mixture – the lemon will help prevent browning.
3. Once drained, arrange each piece on a baking sheet (to stop them from sticking together) and freeze overnight.
4. The next day, transfer the slices or chunks to an eco-friendly freezer bag or container labelled with the date. The beauty of this food hack is that you can freeze your apple slices for up to one year and it won’t dilute the taste!
Get the recipe for Hasselback Apples Topped With Coconut-Oat Streusel
Related: This Clever Trick Will Prevent Freezer Burn for Good (and Major Food Waste)
How to Keep Apples From Going Brown
Ah, the dreaded browning process. Think of how many apples it’s ruined over the years. Luckily, there’s more than one simple hack that’ll help you preserve fall’s most iconic fruit.
1. For same-day usage, soak sliced apples in lemon juice – the citric acid will help slow down the browning process leaving your apple pieces looking fresh and crisp for several more hours.
2. Out of citrus? Another option is to soak the apple slices in a bowl filled with one cup of cool water and ½ teaspoon of salt. Let them float for about 10 minutes before storing in an airtight container for up to a week. Worried about a salty aftertaste? Fear not! That leftover brine comes off with a simple tap rinse.
3. If you’re looking to pack or use an entire apple, slice it into quarters and then put it back together before wrapping a rubber band around it. The band will ensure your ready-to-eat slices aren’t exposed to the air.
Get the recipe for Bobby Flay’s Apple Pancake Bars With Brown Butter Crumble Topping
Related: 10 Brilliant Ways to Use Fruit That’s Going Bad
Don’t know the difference between butternut and acorn squash? Our ultimate squash guide breaks it down for you. You can also keep your green thumb happy this autumn by learning how to grow fall vegetables.
First two images courtesy of Unsplash.