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5 Things you can make with Apples that are Amazing

 It is apple season.  For us that means the sharp tart apples that make great pies and apple juice.

On our ranch we have a bunch of OLD apple trees.  They keep producing and producing so we feel each year we have to do something.   

5 Things to do with Apples....

Apples are delicious and easy!

1.  Make Apple juice and cider  This is easier than you think.  We do it in two stages.  The first bunch of apples go into the press after we we hand cut them, peel  and core the seeds out.   We get the same juice but we use the pulp from these to make our apple sauce.    When we have two big dutch ovens worth of  pulp we set this aside and then start throwing whole apples into the press.    Bottle the juice and drink.  It will hold in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks.   It lasts all season if you  make apple cider.   You make cider by letting juice sit with a little air.  don't even have to refrigerate it.. just leave it in non metal or glass containers with a little cheese cloth over it.  In a few days (taste it)  skim off the mother vinegar and seal it.... don't let it go to vinegar!   We always put it in sterile jars and give it a water bath to stabilize it  but again you don't have to. 

Apple Sauce makes a great 
holiday gift
2.  Make apple sauce    We take the pulp from the first few batches of apples we put in the press.  (skins or not your choice) and put it into two large dutch ovens to cook at med temp for at least 25 min or until cooked through.  (careful not to scorch!)  Add to each Dutch oven...

  • 1 cup (or more to taste) of brown sugar
  • a quart of apple juice that you have just pressed
  • 2 lemons squeezed
  • 1 TBSP of Nutmeg and 1 TBSP of Cinnamon 
  • Butter if that is your thing
  • Note.. you don't have to add any spice or butter but many people do add a dash of cloves or ?
 We leave it chunky, but you can puree it.  Ladle it into clean sterile jars, screw the lid down lightly and water bath for 25 min leaving 1/2 an inch of air space in the jars and under at least 1 inch of boiling water.    You can read all about canning here...  this is the time to make variety applesauces.  Add strawberries, or pears.. it is your sauce!   This is also when we start making 25 extra of everything for holiday presents... we have a LOT of family.  

Super easy pie crust and apple filling

3.  Make apple pies.   Nothing is simpler than apple pie.  Our secret is in the crust.   We will be the first to admit the new Spectrum organic shortening is better for you, but we miss Crisco.  

Cold water crust
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup shortening (cold)
  • 6-8 tablespoons of ice water

Place the shortening around the bowl and cut flour/salt into the shortening.  Don't overwork  -  leave it lumpy.   Drop a tablespoon of water at a time into the bowl and draw/cut the water into dough in small amounts  up the side of the bowl with a fork.  Do this till you can squeeze the dough together but NOT too moist.    Roll lightly into two balls and chill.  Roll out without touching too much... the TRICK is to not over work the dough on each stage.    HINT. You can replace the water with Sour Cream which is amazing but not on your first try!

Fill a pie with
  • 2 cups of sliced apples,
  • 6 pats of butter,
  • sugar or honey to taste (2 tsp sprinkled or ?)
  • 1/2 tsp each Cinnamon and nutmeg. 
Bake at 375 for  20 min and reduce heat to 350 and bake an additional 10 -15 min till crust is golden.
You can brush it with egg prior to cooking to make it shine,  dust with sugar.  

4.   Make Apple cider vinegar as an organic Weed Killer.  Ok -  full disclosure needed... we are BAD at catching the cider at just the right time since we have jars and vats of this stuff after using the press.  We throw all the pulp and a little juice and water into big barrels and let it go to vinegar on purpose.  We put the cider in juice jars hoping to drink it.  Usually it all works.   If cider goes to far it becomes vinegar so we add it into the big barrels to go around the fruit trees both as a much and as a weed killer... it works.  All you need to do to make cider vinegar is to let the cider continue to have air and not remove the mother vinegar.  Note.   DO remove the mother vinegar (this is the pile of bacteria floating around) to stabilize the vinegar if you want to store the vinegar (it will continue to rot if you don't) ... but if you are lazy like us.. just pour in around the trees, mother vinegar, pulp and all when it smells strongly like vinegar and you have organic weed killer.  

5.  Special Apple Fritters (our way)  slice three apples 1/4 inch thick. Make your morning pancake batter.   Dip the apples in the batter and fry them alongside your pancakes.   Dust with cinnamon and confectioners sugar.  Serve on top of the pancakes.  The Crowd will go wild! 


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