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Apple Festival
September 3, 2010 4:50 AM   Subscribe

I am so lucky to live in the heart of NC apple country. In fact, I can see an orchard out my back window. Best of all, I have a love for the taste of this versatile fruit. But I have little knowledge of ways to use them. Please share your ideas for ways to enjoy them fully.

The supply is plentiful and cheap. Do you have some old family recipes that include the many varieties and flavors of apples? There are ginger gold, gala, honey crisp, swiss gourmet, jonagold, golden and red delicious, fuji, senshu, mutsu, cameo, red rome, stayman, winesap, zestar, granny smith, pink lady, and gold rush. You get the idea. How can I continue to enjoy them all through the winter?
posted by netbros to Food & Drink (22 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
Oh my. You are lucky.

I use them in pies, cobblers, and crisps. I make applesauce (crockpot applesauce is a particular favorite), apple butter (again in the crockpot), and apple jelly. I preserve sliced apples for use throughout the winter. I eat them in salads with a raspberry poppy seed vinaigrette. And on and on.

The problem is, none of the recipes I use is on the internet! But if there's one that sounds particularly good to you, I'd be happy to share it.
posted by cooker girl at 4:56 AM on September 3, 2010


APPLE CAKE! So, so good. Now I can't wait for apple season to really come 'round...

I change the recipe slightly by cutting the apple into chunks and just mixing it in with the batter, then plopping it in a pan. (Or, for awhile, a saucepan when I didn't have any baking supplies.) It can run a little dry, but more rather than less orange juice helps.
posted by kalimac at 5:22 AM on September 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Apple butter and apple jelly are delicious and long lasting provided you can them. Thankfully these can be canned in a hot water bath so all you need to do is buy some small canning jars and lids and you can enjoy the delicious appley taste throughout the year. I just made crab apple jelly with my crab apples and got applesauce as well via my process. Absolutely delicious!
posted by Meagan at 5:25 AM on September 3, 2010


There's nothing remotely sophisticated (or healthy) about this recipe (it involves crescent rolls and mountain dew), but these apple dumplings are delicious.
posted by litnerd at 5:26 AM on September 3, 2010


Apple chutney - substitute apples for the mangoes. It's really good!
posted by LN at 5:39 AM on September 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Cook them with cinnamon in your oatmeal (or other hot cereal). Saute with cabbage, mustard, brown sugar, and vinegar for a side. Dice small and roll up in cinnamon rolls. Mix yogurt and whip cream and dip apples in them. That's how I've been cooking them recently.

The NC Dept of Ag has some good recipes which also thankfully list the proper apple for the job. Since you can afford to be picky, you might as well pay attention to which apples are best for eating fresh, cooking, sauce, etc.

(I live in NC too, but sadly my access to orchards is more remote).
posted by artifarce at 6:07 AM on September 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Apple wine is shockingly easy to make and delicious. My parents bought land on an orchard and are in a similar situation to you, and they've found that wine (and then the purchase of a cider press when they got more serious) was a good way to get rid of a lot of apples in an efficient and tasty manner. Then they give it out as holiday gifts.

If you get overwhelmed and can't process all of the fruit before it starts to go bad, somethine we've found that works well is to prep apples as if you were going to make a pie (peel/slice/core) and then put in a plastic bag, and freeze the bag sitting in a pie plate. Then in the middle of the year when you're craving a fresh pie, you've got the portion of apples already processed. Just add crust and spices, and it's fall all over again.

I realize I'm speaking of fruit as something to "get rid of" instead of something to delight in, and you might not be in the exact same situation. Sorry I made that assumption (I just re-read) but I still recommend wine.
posted by librarianamy at 6:27 AM on September 3, 2010


I like to lay a couple slices of apple on top of pork chops when I roast them in the oven. It keeps them from drying out. You can also use the chunks in stuffing (for a bird or roast whatever if that's your thing)
posted by mkb at 6:39 AM on September 3, 2010


There is nothing else in this world like a freshly-baked apple pie with homemade, flaky crust. The cookbook "The Best Recipe" has an apple pie recipe that made my man fall in love with me all over again. He mentions that pie regularly.
posted by amtho at 6:55 AM on September 3, 2010


I love the apple Bratwurst that they make around here for the apple festival. If you are into making sausage that would be an interesting way to use them. Our family tradition it going and picking a couple bushels every year. I hope to try making hard cider or wine this year out of our tree.
posted by Amby72 at 7:20 AM on September 3, 2010


apple sauce and its cousin, apple butter, are bot best made with a mix of apples for texture and flavor. you can can both and eat on their own or in recipes (savory or sweet - i just saw a recipw for a pumpkin style apple butter pie, with thepreserve used to flavor a custard base).

and dried apples are amazingly useful - in steel cut oats, in cakes, as snacks, etc. dried apple pie is a classic.

and cider and apfelwein are good places for seconds to go. you'll need to wait a couple years, but you can get through a LOT of apples making just five gallons of cider.
posted by peachfuzz at 7:45 AM on September 3, 2010


Yum! I live in NC too, soooo looking forward to apples.

You can simply bake apples. Cut them into slices, put some cinnamon or all spice on them, maybe a little brown sugar and bake until they are soft. Not fancy, but great when you have extra apples and don't feel like making a pie.

Additionally, I made this apple topping for french toast last year that blew my mind. I sauteed sliced apples in butter, added brown sugar and a little salt until they had cooked down quite a bit. Then put on french toast. OMFG. Do this.
posted by Rocket26 at 8:26 AM on September 3, 2010


When the apples are getting a bit too soft to eat, I make sauce for freezing. I core apples, cut them in half, sprinkle them with masala tea spices and roast them in the oven (250 or so) for hours (low and slow). I then run them through a food mill on the chunkiest setting.

I use the intense stuff as applesauce and as a chutney/sauce for meat.
posted by answergrape at 8:31 AM on September 3, 2010


Definitely apfelwein. I'm going to be getting large amounts of cloudy apple juice from Hwy 64 to do just that. I've also used the mongrel apples from our tree for a very traditional chutney.

The early apples that you'll probably see if you brave downtown this weekend are usually better treated lightly: the ubiquitous honeycrisp doesn't need much more than thin slicing and a sprinkling of lemon juice for salads (sweet or savoury). Give it another month, and you're well into the bakers and keepers. But talk to the sellers: they'll know exactly what each variety is best for. Don't just go with the well-knowns, either: there are a few Henderson County orchards with heirloom varieties, and even more if you head up to Boone in the next couple of months.
posted by holgate at 8:43 AM on September 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


My favorite, as mentioned above, is crockpot applesauce. Use real vanilla and plenty of it. Oh. Em. Gee.

My father begs for apple pie at all major holidays, which means I end up making vast quantities of Apple Pie Filling and freezing it. Golden Delicious are good in this filling, but I personally think it's even better with something more tart.

Also, the filling is great as a topping for waffles, pancakes, ANYTHING. Yum.
posted by somanyamys at 9:00 AM on September 3, 2010


For heirlooms: Creasman is good, as are a couple of smaller places along 64E towards Bat Cave. Reiterating the point about the upcountry: they don't really have the acreage or climate to do the mass production that sends most of Henderson Co.'s apples to the applesaucers, so you find a lot of speciality growers (and a few hard cider producers) in Ashe, Watauga and Wilkes counties, and sellers who focus on the farmers' market in Boone.

Back on topic: to make them last the winter, you need to pick keeper varieties -- most come in late, like Arkansas Blacks or Limbertwigs. A root celler is the traditional storage method, but a cool basement will do, and if you're prepared to sacrifice a crisper drawer in your fridge, then that will hold a half-bushel or so pretty well, as long as you check every week or so for bad ones.
posted by holgate at 10:15 AM on September 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


somanyamys already linked to this site, but if you have a crockpot, here are some other amazing looking recipes that use (and use up!) lots of apples. they seem to incorporate a lot of ideas suggested here, but with recipes and pictures, which can be helpful!
posted by andreapandrea at 12:16 PM on September 3, 2010


Start with your favorite fat--bacon, or maybe butter--in a skillet. Add sliced onion. Add apples. Cover and let cook , stirring very occasionally. When apples and onions get soft, sprinkle with brown sugar, salt, and pepper. Amazing.

Also good--fry apples, sauerkraut, and onions together.

Apple butter custard pie (mentioned above) is amazing.

If you have green/underripe or tart apples, apple custard pie is also good. I've seen some recipes that top it with a meringue, like lemon meringue pies.
posted by Tall Telephone Pea at 7:09 PM on September 3, 2010


Pork and apple pie (also known as Cheshire Pork Pie).

Schnitz un Gnepp (traditionally dried apples, but I've used fresh, stewed with ham and dumplings). You can dry apples pretty easily, too.

Apple grilled cheese (apples and cheese in any combination is usually amazing).
posted by Tall Telephone Pea at 7:19 PM on September 3, 2010


I love apple crisp (heavy on the crisp). And, like most things, it's better with bacon.

Applesauce cake is another favorite. My recipe is from an old cookbook that I can't find online, but this applesauce cake is pretty close.

This is great if you also appreciate sweet potatoes.

Gingerbread apple upside down cake.

Apple pancakes, like potato pancakes. There's also apple fritters.

I could continue, but I think I'll stop.
posted by Tall Telephone Pea at 7:45 PM on September 3, 2010


Last winter when I had an oversupply of apples I made a pair of exquisite apple/onion/smoked cheese savory pies (using frozen whole wheat crusts from Whole Foods because I have a microkitchen with inadequate rolling-out space). I didn't use a recipe, but you can find any of zillion savory pie recipes online and adapt them. I did something like this:

Sliced the apples and let them dry out in the oven while I got everything else ready.
Sliced the onions and sauteed them on top of the stove, along with thyme from the garden.
Shredded* the cheese through a box grater.
Whisked up some eggs, added a little sour milk to the mix.

Put those things in the crusts. Baked them. Fed one pie to self and houseguests with a bitter salad, but put the second pie in the freezer, where it stayed for SIX MONTHS and was perfectly delicious when I finally thawed it out in July.

*Does anyone remember a terrific comment from the last year or two about the crazed superhero tone to the expression "shredded cheese" (as opposed to "grated cheese"?) This person was from the UK, I think, or elsewhere in the anglophone world where the phrase isn't common. My normal tendency is to say "grated cheese" too, but ever since reading that comment I've been shredding it with glee.
posted by tangerine at 1:42 PM on September 4, 2010


Google for crochet Ginger apple butter-I think someone on chow hound developed the recipe. Insanely good.
posted by purenitrous at 10:45 AM on September 8, 2010


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