Nothing diminishes the inevitable blues of the closing of Summer like embracing the brisk coolness of Fall. So last weekend, we donned jackets with several layers and went apple picking. I'm not sure what kind of apples we picked, I just know we climbed a lot of ladders, and I did take a (big, brutal and hard!) apple to the head, but by the time we got home, we had collected a huge bushel of taunt, green, apples, along with remnants of cinnamon sugar, crunchy on our lips, from the farm-made apple cider donuts that the orchard sold, that we scoffed down on the car ride back.
WHAT TO DO WITH THE APPLES? 3 RECIPES:
1 ) SALTED CARAMEL APPLE PIE The recipe is based on a recipe from Tyler Florence, but with three notes: 1) The caramel sauce also has a cup of red wine, which is really different and interesting. Try it! 2) the recipe doesn't call for salt, so I added a good pinch of salt to the caramel sauce, which gave it that great salty/sweet taste, and finally 3) the recipe says 'constantly stir' the caramel and I would advise not to stir. You need to let it sit, to set up, and only 'swirl' the pan occasionally. If you constantly stir the sugar and water mixture it will have a tough time converting to caramel.
2 ) APPLE CIDER DONUTS This recipe is from the lovely Deb over at Smitten Kitchen.
3 ) UNSWEETENED APPLE SAUCE This makes about 5 or 6, 8 oz jars and wonderful to do on a Sunday afternoon, when the smell of simmering apples will premeate the house.
Core, but don't peel about 12 apples. (Apples other than Granny Smith's will make for a sweeter sauce) Place in a heavy base saucepan and gently simmer in a little bit of water, stirring occasionally until apples are soft, and skins start peeling off. When apples are mushy, add a squeeze of lemon and a pinch of salt. (You can add sugar to taste, but I did not add sugar, as the apples we picked were very sweet). Puree through a food mill which will make for a finer puree and separate the skins, and then pour into sterilized jars, (I boiled the empty jars with their lids, on a rolling boil for 14 mins) then poured the apple in, and then placed lids on while the apple puree was still hot, then I placed back in the water bath and continued to boil for another 14 minutes. Then let the jars cool. Lids should be flat, and not have the ability to pop up, then you will know they will be Ok to be stored. For basic tips for first time canners, click here.
TIP: Make up your own personalized labels and print them out, and glue them to cool jars. Give the jars to family members, teachers, friends, at Holiday or Christmas time. Getting Holiday gifts covered before the season starts? Now that feels really good.
(Pics Dimity Jones)