Follow Me Foodie to BC Tree Fruits 52nd Annual Apple Month!
Apple Recipes, Ideas, Tips & Tricks!
“I’m turning my head up and down
I’m turning turning turning turning turning around
And all that I can see is just another apple-tree”
– Fools Garden, Lemon Tree lyrics
Well I guess the lyrics don’t really apply since it’s February, but who cares because it’s Apple Month! Apple Month was originally started by BC Tree Fruits to support local growers in the Okanagan and now it’s in its 52nd year. There are literally thousands of apple varieties and knowing which apples to use for what can really help improve your recipes. Besides eating and baking them there are other neat things you can do with them, and here are just a few apple recipes, ideas and tips! So if you missed my Foodie Friday segment on NEWS 1130AM radio this morning (11am every other Friday) here’s a quick recap. (Listen to it here).
What type of apples do I use for my pies?
Just to get it out of the way, I know everyone is going to ask “where can I get the best apple pie?” “The best” I’m not sure since I haven’t tried every single one in the city, but personally I enjoy the apple pie at Savary Island Pie Company, however they’re not too hard to make yourself.
I highly recommend trying your favourite apple pie recipes with various apples because every apple has a different flavour. If you like your apple pies more tart then go with a classic Granny Smith apple, but if you like it more sweet then try an Ambrosia, and even sweeter would be a Fuji apple. They all have different sugar contents and textures after they bake, so have fun and experiment beyond the Granny Smith, or even try a blend of apples. I would probably stay away from Cortlands and Red Delicious since they lose shape and get powdery, however they work for ciders and sauces.
If you’re just so done with “old-fashioned grandma-style apple pies”, then perhaps try my Maple Bourbon Apple Pie with a Bacon Pecan Crust Recipe!
Now if you want to try something really different you can also try a Grāpple. It’s an apple from Washington that looks like an apple, crunches like an apple, and tastes like a grape! They’ve been in the market for a while now and I discovered them at Whole Foods and specialty stores over a year ago and they’re pretty bizarre. It’s a natural and safe process using artificial flavors and the apples are bathed in grape flavoured water until they absorb the flavours of a grape. So if you hate the taste of apples, but want the health benefits, then maybe try a Grāpple?
Try Making Apple-Infused Vodka!
Speaking of infusions there are several other things you can do with apples besides baking them. Going the more adult root you can infuse vodka with them. I wouldn’t use an expensive brand since it would be a waste, but just go with something affordable.
Simply slice or dice 3-4 apples with their skins in chunks, and drop them in a container filled with 1 bottle of vodka until they are completely covered. Let them soak for about a week or so until your desired apple intensity is reached and then remove the apples and strain the liquid to rid any remaining sediments. The colour of the vodka will be yellowish brown.
You can try the same recipe with rum or add some cinnamon sticks, vanilla beans or pink peppercorns if you’re feeling a bit more creative.
Note: Before you toss out those old vodka infused apples, you can also puree them and cook them over low-medium heat with some cinnamon, vinegar and raisins and use it as a chutney or spread.
What else are apples good for besides eating?
Well I hope you don’t buy apples just for this reason because that would be a waste, but there are some neat tricks you can do with apples besides eat them. You may know some of these already, but apples speed up the ripening of avocados, tomatoes, bananas and pears. If you put an apple with any of those items in a brown bag they’ll ripen even faster.
Another thing you can do is use apples (or a piece of bread) to soften up brown sugar. Leave a piece of apple overnight in the dried up and hardened brown sugar and the next day it will be loose and back to normal.
Last but not least, is what apples can do with salt. You know how people say “you can always add more salt, but you can’t take it out”? Well au contraire! Believe it or not Ripley, if you over salt your soups or sauces you can throw in a few pieces of apple, allow it to cook for a bit, and it will remove salt content. Sure your sauce or soup may have a very mild and subtle apple flavour or sweetness, but you’re only using 2-3 pieces and not the entire thing.
Apple Pie In-A-Jar… ?
If you got all the way down to here, which you did because you’re reading this, then do you remember this? It’s my Canadian Pie In-A-Jar from Food Network Canada’s Recipe to Riches. Well I have some great news for those of you who wanted to try it. I’m actually reinventing it with BC Tree Fruit Apples and making an Apple Pie In-A-Jar! I’ll be having a sampling session for it soon so watch for my posts in the next couple weeks for the announcement!