Apples have a long harvest season, with each of the many different types having a different harvest time. Luckily for us, this is the perfect time for apples…and they are one of the most versatile fruits. I am sure you have hear the saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”. While this may not necessarily be true, apples do have amazing health benefits! They are packed with antioxidants, B-complex vitamins, flavonoids, minerals and fiber. Apple skins contain a lot of nutrition, so leave them on! Farm fresh apples will be considerably fresher and better for you. Did you know that apples you buy in the store can easily be a year old?! I have compiled a list of several ways to help you preserve and use those farm fresh apples, so you can enjoy them all year! (Have extra apples? Try these recipes. Caramelized Apple Chops and Apple Chicken Salad.) See below for many more of our fantastic recipes that use apples! Please, please share the SWEET-ness. We are Sweet Basil Farm & Gardens on Facebook. Share this post with your family, friends, neighbors. Look for us on Pinterest, Youtube, Instagram, Google+ and Twitter.
Here are 7 tips with how to save and/or preserve your apples to use all year long!
- Dehydrate apple slices with cinnamon: Use a food dehydrator or try this great recipe for apple chips in the oven.
Three reasons to leave the skins on: (1) it’s easier and (2) they contain fiber and (3) they’re pretty!
2. Frozen applesauce: applesauce needs no special equipment or a fancy recipe, but I do have an easy favorite honey applesauce recipe!
Without skins, mix them up with a fork for chunky applesauce, or use a potato masher to get it a bit smoother.
For perfectly smooth sauce, or if you leave the skins on, use a hand blender in the pot or a full sized blender once it cools a bit. Applesauce not only can be canned, but also freezes easily in any kind of container: plastic container (such as Ziplock disposables,) freezer bag, or even a glass jar.
Ready to use your applesauce? Then you must try one of these recipes! Pumpkin Oatmeal Bread
3. Frozen sliced: Raw apples freeze great as long as they’re destined for cooked dishes. You can sprinkle a little lemon juice on the slices to help prevent browning. I like to freeze 4-5 large, peeled and cut up apples and put into a freezer safe bag (perfect amount for an apple pie.)
This is also an easy way to have a super quick dessert of baked apples: just toss some butter, brown sugar or maple syrup, and oats or chopped nuts on top, bake, and enjoy!
4. Applesauce fruit rolls: For those who don’t can, don’t have a food dehydrator, and are running out of freezer space, don’t despair! There’s hope for your multitudinous apples, too. Apple-cinnamon fruit rolls are a perfect toss-em-in-the-bag-and-forget-them sort of snack.
Just spread your homemade applesauce, heavy on the cinnamon, in my opinion, onto parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and bake at 200-250F until thoroughly dry, usually 1-2 hours. Watch closely so it doesn’t burn. (If you do have a dehydrator, make the rolls on unbleached parchment paper or trays on about 135F for 8-12 hours or until fully dried but not quite crispy.)
5. Apple Preserves- Click here for an easy recipe. There are many recipes for apple preserves…I’d love to hear yours!
Helpful Note: A common and effective treatment to keep apples from browning is to use ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) in a dipping solution or by adding it directly to the fruit or syrup. Ascorbic acid dissolves easily in cold liquids and will not change the flavor of fruit treated with it. You can buy pure ascorbic acid crystals from pharmacies and also in the canning supply section of some supermarkets or hardware stores, or you can buy ascorbic acid in the form of Vitamin C tablets. Make sure you get regular Vitamin C tablets, not fruit-flavored or timed-release tablets. Note that 1⁄2 teaspoon of ascorbic acid crystals is equivalent to 1,500 mg of Vitamin C in tablet form (for example, three 500-mg tablets). Tablets need to be finely crushed (between the nested bowls of two spoons) and dissolved in water or other liquid before use.
6. Sun Drying- The high sugar and acid content of apples makes them safe to dry outdoors when conditions are right for drying; minimum temperature of 85°F [29°C] and humidity less than 60 percent (meaning this virtually impossible in the South!) However, insects and birds are attracted to drying apples, and may contaminate them. (again, impossible! Mosquitoes love sweet! Go back up and read the oven baking section. LOL.)
7. Jams & Jellies– There are tons of recipes out there, I am narrowing down my favorites…and will do a special post soon…In the meantime, share your favs with us!
Want to enjoy fresh apples now? Here is a few different ways to incorporate apples into your diet, and take full advantage of the amazing nutritional benefits they provide!
3. De.lic.ious. Fried Apple Rings Need I say more?
4. Super Soup. Butternut Squash Soup
5. Dinner is served! Caramelized Apple Chops
6. Easy (& simple) does it! Easy Baked Apples
7. Cake. Yes, please. Alice’s Fresh Apple Cake.
Want to learn more about apple varieties and what each is best used for? Make sure to visit the apple experts, at US Apples! Our Market Baskets have so many different varieties of apples, you will never get bored! Here at Sweet Basil Farms, we have about 10 different varieties that we grow! From sweet to tart to everything in between! There is always an apple for everyone.
Share the SWEET-ness. We are Sweet Basil Farm & Gardens on Facebook. Look for us on Pinterest, Youtube, Instagram, Google+ and Twitter. We are a local Middle Georgia producer of farm fresh fruits and vegetables and members of the American Poultry Association, licensed by the Georgia Dept. of Agriculture as Poultry Dealers and Brokers, and a proud member of the Georgia Grown program, a division of the Georgia Dept. of Agriculture. We also breed, sell and ship poultry, pet pigs, bearded irises and much more. We have an 80 acre working farm, with great emphasis on all natural gardening and livestock management practices. An 1840’s general store is situated on our property, and serves as our on-site farmer’s market. We have a large vegetable and herb garden, fruit orchards and more. Conveniently located off of Interstate 75 near the Johnstonville Rd exit (#193). We are six miles west, located in Barnesville, Lamar County, Georgia.
Post by Tisha Johnson Matthews, of Sweet Basil Farm & Gardens, with beautiful inspiration from kitchenstewardship. Special thanks to J. David Matthews, of Barnesville, Georgia for support and patience with all that I try and test.