It may occur to you that the soulful experience I had with the apples was less than practical. It occurred to me when I brought them back to my kitchen, and they tasted sour next to all of the cultivated, sweeter varieties of food. They were certainly not dessert, nor were they savory enough to put into our dinner (though I might have tried if I had been cooking alone). The question seeks to be answered, what to do with sour apples?
Certainly many like-minded folks have faced this question, returning home from local orchards or wild trees with baskets full of sour apples. Yes, we could eat them just like that. But are we really going to? More importantly, why would we do that when there are so many other wonderful opportunities to use them? Here are a few things you can try instead:
- Make Cider. Grab a lot of them (likely no one else wants them anyways if they’re growing wild. Best to ask anyways, though, if it’s on someone else’s land, just to avoid the awkward “I’m not stealing because I assumed you didn’t want these” conversation). You can use a juicer if you don’t have a cider press, but make sure to include some of the pulp in the final product.
- Make Pie. Are you the king of crumbles, or the damsel of desserts? Nothing better than mediocre food-related alliteration to start out the day. To make us feel better about it, let’s make pie.
- Make Apple Butter or Jam. This is a longer process, particularly if you want to can it for preservation, but it’s well worth it in the end if you have the faintest inclination to do it.
- Make Applesauce. This is not as time intensive as cider, and requires fewer ingredients than pie. Just add a little cinnamon and sweeten with honey or maple syrup.
- Make Nicholas’ “Magic De-Soured Apple Dessert”. This is the “scramble around the kitchen and take what you can get” sort of method, but it ended up turning out beautifully. So much so that I’ve included a recipe for it here.
Magic Apple Dessert
- 1 cup sour Apples, cored and chopped
- 2 tablespoons butter, ghee, or coconut oil
- 1/4 cup chopped almonds (optional)
- 3 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 pinch salt
- 2-4 tablespoons honey
- 1 cup cream or whole milk
- Heat butter, ghee, or coconut oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add apples and chopped almonds, if desired. Add salt and stir regularly.
- When apples begin to turn golden-brown and slightly translucent (about five minutes), add the cinnamon and nutmeg. Add more butter if necessary. Continue cooking until apples are soft and flavors are well-blended, about five to ten minutes depending on the size of the apple chunks.
- Transfer to small serving bowl and mix in honey.
- Serve into individual bowls and pour cream or milk.
- This recipe works well with wild apples. They often have a flavor and tanginess (not to mention a density of nutrition) that is not present in store bought apples. The cooking and the butter, milk and honey do a lot to balance out the sourness, while maintaining some of their wild flavor.