Apple Harvest Season + Our Favorite Recipes to Share.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

It’s that time of year again, time to visit our local apple orchard and get our hands on as many fresh picked apples as we can before the season ends and the cold weather comes. 
We took our annual visit a few weeks ago and we just used the last of our harvest the other day, a good sign of just how many apples we came home with. 
Our children love this fall time tradition and it’s become a seasonal treat for us. A special way to connect to nature, to the season, and to each other. We dedicate a whole day to harvesting and family fun, making our rounds at the food trucks and riding all of the classic rides. On this year’s trip we came home with three sleeping kiddos and over 20 lbs of apples to turn in to sauce and butter and everything in between. 
Because we’ve been doing this for several years now, I’ve learned to get pretty creative with the way I use my apple harvest. We get sick of the same old same when it comes to recipes but there are a few simple favorites that are great year after year and I thought I would share them here with you! 
Apple Sauce is a classic, it just doesn’t go out of style. Nothing makes the kids happier than a fresh batch of warm, chunky apple sauce. This recipe is very basic and that’s why it’s a favorite of mine. Very little prep work or cooking involved. 

Here’s what you’ll need:
6-10 apples (cored, peeled, and diced) 
2 tbsp ground cinnamon
Slow cooker

Add apples and cinnamon to slow cooker and set to low heat. Cook for 2-3 hours stirring occasionally. When apples are softened mash to desired consistency. Serve warm or store in a glass mason jar in the fridge. 

Apple butter is much requested when this time of year rolls around so I thought I would share our family’s recipe with you! 

Here’s what you’ll need:
6 pounds apples 
1 cup coconut sugar
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1 drop nutmeg vitality 
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

Core, peel and slice apples and place in a crock pot.
Mix together sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Toss apple slices with with sugar mixture. Cook on low for 10 hours. When your apples look soft and there is liquid in the bottom of the crock, stir in vanilla extract and nutmeg vitality. Using a wooden spoon, crush large apple pieces. 
Cook on low for 2 more hours.
Allow apples to cool slightly and then puree with an immersion blender (or transfer in batches to a food processor.) Transfer to air tight containers like mason jars and store in refrigerator for up to two weeks or store in the freezer for up to 2 months! Easy and so delicious on toast or english muffins. 

Apple Chips are a fun snack for children and adults alike and can be made fairly easily. I like to use a dehydrator for this but you can also use your oven set on a low temperature. 

Here's what you’ll need:
8-10 apples, cored and sliced. Peeling optional. 
2 tsp ground cinnamon 
1 drop nutmeg vitality essential oil

Mix cinnamon and Nutmeg vitality together in a small bowl and then toss each apple ring in the mixture until evenly coated. Add to your dehydrator and let them go for 6-8 hours. Apple rings nor should be sticky or moist to the touch and should have a chewy, chip like texture. 

If you follow me over on Instagram, you’ll know that this week I shared my Spiced Apple Cider recipe. It’s a simple and easy classic that is perfect for using up your less than perfect apples and the scraps and skins from other apple recipes. Head over to my feed by clicking here to save the recipe

Another one of my favorite ways to use my  apple cores and skins is to make Apple Cider Vinegar. I am a huge ACV lover and I use it daily so making my own is a great way to save money and use what I already have on hand. 

Here’s what you’ll need:
A large, glass jar (half gallon mason jars work well)
Cheese cloth + an elastic band to secure over the jar
A glass weight (used to hold the apples below the surface of the water)
Organic apples
Filtered water
Raw cane sugar (about 2-3 tbsp. for each half-gallon jar )

Prep your area – The only real thing that you’ll want to be cautious about is that the apples, utensils, jar and surface area that you’re working on is very clean – you don’t want to introduce any bad bacteria into the fermenting process, as it will spoil your ACV. Clean everything in warm, soapy water and leave to air-dry.
Prep your apples – Clean your apples in a sink full of cold water and wipe them down with a cloth to remove any residue or dirt. Make sure to cut off any yucky bits, bruises and blemishes before-hand – if you wouldn’t eat it, don’t use it for your ACV. For this batch of ACV I used only the peels, and some of the core pieces, which I had left over from making apple sauce – very little apple made it to the compost!
If you’re using the whole apple, dice it in to small, half-inch pieces.Fill your jar 3/4 full of clean, diced apples. Cover the apples with water and sprinkle with the sugar. The sugar will act as food for the beneficial bacteria which will help move the fermentation process along. (I’ve also made it without sugar, and instead used a 1/2 cup of ACV as a “starter” which worked well, too!) Submerge the apples below the surface of the water. You’ll need to use a weight to prevent the apples from floating to the surface. I use special, glass fermentation weights, but you may have to get creative. Many people use a clean zip-lock bag filled with water, or a plastic lid, perhaps left-over from a yogurt or sour cream container, cut to size and then held down with a sterilized rock. Again, you may have to get creative. If there are pieces of apples left exposed to the surface air, they may mold which will spoil your ACV. Cover the jar with a doubled-up piece of cheese cloth, and secure it with an elastic band to prevent fruit flies and critters from getting in. Store your soon-to-be ACV in a room-temperature environment, away from direct sunlight (like in your pantry, or tucked away in an undisturbed corner of your kitchen) and leave it to ferment for 4 weeks. If the room is cooler then “room temperature” (about 70°F) then your ACV will take longer to ferment. In about 3 days you should see little bubbles forming – this means it’s working! The beneficial bacteria are breaking down the sugars into CO2! Check on the ACV every few days to ensure that the apples are still submerged. It should smell sweet in the beginning, and then eventually start to smell more and more sour. Something similar to a kombucha “mother” may form on the top, which is great – you can use it as a starter culture for your next batch of ACV, if you like. Simply store it in a small jar with some ACV, like you would your kombucha mother. After about 4 weeks, it should be ready to strain. Use a cheese cloth to squeeze out, and break down, as much of the apple as you can. Pour the liquid back into the jar, cover again with the cheese cloth, and leave it to ferment for another 2-3 weeks, stirring every few days. Once it has developed the taste that you desire, you can now bottle it, seal it with a lid and start to use it! 
I hope that this gives you some simple ideas to get the most of your apple harvest this season!
If you try any of my recipes, make sure to share them and tag me on social media or leave me a comment here! I would love to know what you think! 
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