It’s that time of year again – apple season! I absolutely adore this season. The orchards are bursting with ripe apples, and the stores are filled with amazing deals. During the case lot sales at the grocery stores, we stock up on apples. I’ve noticed many people wondering what to do with the surplus of apples they have after making apple sauce and apple butter. Well, worry no more! There are plenty of options for preserving apples besides canning. In fact, after reading this article, you might find yourself going back for more!
Table of Contents
Various Ways to Use Apples
Let’s explore the different things you can do with the surplus of apples you may have. I’ll provide articles or recipes whenever possible to guide you through each option. This is a fantastic opportunity to learn about canning and become a confident canner!
Applesauce. This classic treat is a crowd-pleaser. The basic process involves coring, peeling, and cubing the apples before cooking them down in a large stockpot. Some people like to add cinnamon or experiment with allspice (be careful not to overdo it). If you prefer a smooth texture, consider using a food processor. Here is an excellent article I found on making applesauce and water bath canning it up.
Apple Butter. Often considered the refined cousin of applesauce, apple butter is akin to an apple jam. The process is quite similar, but apple butter is cooked for a longer time and often made in a crockpot. With the addition of cloves, cinnamon, and sugar, apple butter is the perfect spread for warm homemade biscuits in the wintertime. Check out this link for a detailed guide on making apple butter using a crockpot.
Apple Juice. Making apple juice is an excellent way to use up a large pile of apples. Simply cut them up (including the peels, minus the core), and simmer them in a pot. Once the apples become mushy, strain the mash through cheesecloth to extract the juice. Don’t discard the mash and peels! The mash can be turned into a thicker applesauce, and the peels, along with the cores, can be used to make apple jelly. This article will walk you through making fresh apple juice. Scroll down for more information on apple jelly.
Apple Cider. Enjoy a delightful cup of warm apple cider on chilly days. The main difference between apple cider and apple juice is heat. Apple cider is made from fresh apples without any filtering or cooking. Using a fruit press is the most efficient way to extract the juice, but it’s not a practical option for most people.
Apple, banana, and peach slices. I added a dash of cinnamon to the apples before dehydrating.
Dehydrated Slices and Cubes. Even without a dehydrator, you can still dry and store apple slices or cubes in your oven. However, having a dehydrator allows you to process the slices while working on something else, making it more convenient. Dehydrated apple slices or cubes are perfect additions to oatmeal, granola, ice cream, and more. It’s a unique and delicious way to preserve apples instead of solely relying on canning. For dehydrating using an oven, set the heat to the lowest setting and crack the door open. Times will vary, but the slices are ready when they crack but don’t break when folded. As a bonus, you can make bags of dehydrated fruits or granola, then vacuum seal them for a shelf life of approximately one year!
Apple Pie Filling. Brace yourself for some mouth-watering goodness. Making apple pie filling is as easy as any of the other ideas mentioned here. There are numerous recipes available, so I’ll let you do the research. Chances are, someone in your family already has a fantastic recipe. To summarize, peel and core the apples, cut them into chunks, add spices, and cook until slightly soft (but not mushy!). Consider making extra pie filling and water bath canning it for future pie-making endeavors.
Canned Apples. You can preserve apple slices or chunks in a light syrup (according to your taste). Similar to canning peaches, you only need a water bath canner – no pressure canner required. Start by choosing the syrup you want to make. Personally, I prefer a light syrup made with 1 and a 1/2 cups of sugar per quart of water. It may seem like a lot of sugar, but when compared to a heavy syrup using 4 cups of sugar per quart, it’s not so bad. If you prefer to avoid refined sugar, you can use honey instead. Place the apple slices or chunks into the syrup and bring it to a boil. Fill your jars with the hot mixture, seal them with lids and bands, then water bath can for approximately 10 minutes. It really is that simple!
Fruit Leather. Making fruit leather requires some patience, but it’s definitely worth it! Peel, core, and slice the apples before cooking them down until soft and mushy. Use a masher or food processor to achieve a smooth mixture. Preheat your oven to 170 degrees Fahrenheit (or the lowest setting). Spread the mixture on a cookie sheet, preferably on a non-stick mat, or use dehydrator sheets if you have a dehydrator. Either way, this tasty treat is sure to please people of all ages.
The Leftovers (Cores and peels)
The start of apple cider vinegar. This is about 2 weeks fermenting.
If you thought we were done, think again! There’s more you can do with those apple cores and peels. Don’t worry about any discoloration – it won’t affect what we’ll be using them for. Let’s make our food stretch and minimize waste.
Apple Jelly. Surprisingly, not many people make apple jelly, but I assure you, it’s delightful! Making apple jelly is one of the easiest jellies to make. Since the seeds are large, the peels won’t pass through a filter, and using cores and peels means there’s less “meat” to filter out. This method ensures a nice, clear jelly.
Apple Cider Vinegar. Personally, I’ve made apple cider vinegar using the leftovers from making applesauce. It felt like such a shame to throw everything away, so I decided to repurpose it. Apple cider vinegar can be used in various recipes, and some people even consume a bit daily for its health benefits. The process is straightforward, and you can learn how I made mine here.
Apple Juice. I suggest using caution with this suggestion. You won’t get much juice, and it’s crucial to ensure all the seeds are filtered out. Do some research on making apple juice before attempting it. In my opinion, it’s better to make jelly or vinegar with the leftovers.
- Apple crisp
- Pastries, apple fritters, and “fruit burritos”
- Apple dumplings
- Candied apples
Share Your Ideas!
What else can YOU suggest? We’d love to hear from our readers and get some fresh ideas. Leave a comment below and let us know what you think! Remember, for more information and articles, visit 5 WS.