Eating apples might be eaten straight from the apple tree. But what should you do with a bounty of cooking apples? The traditional ideas such as pies, crumbles etc. are well known. But there are only so many apple desserts that you can eat. And there is far more that you can do with your apple harvest. Here are some other ideas to consider:
Savoury Cooking Apple Recipes for Your Apple Harvest
Savoury apple recipes mean that you can make the most of the natural sweet/tart flavour of cooking apples in a range of ways, and get their goodness into your healthy diet.
Using Cooking Apples in Salads
One of my favourite ways to use cooking apples from the trees in my garden is in salads. We often add slices of apple to a leafy salad with other seasonal produce from the garden. Apples work very well to cut through fattiness of other ingredients. They can bring a zingy flavour to make sure salads are never boring at all.
Cooking apple can also be good grated and used along with cabbage, kohlrabi, beetroot, carrots and other ingredients to make a more varied alternative to a traditional coleslaw. You can also use an apple cider vinegar or apple scrap vinegar as a salad dressing. Or use an apple cider vinegar in making a home-made mayonnaise, or other condiments.
Using Unsweetened Apple Sauce in Stews
Another way that I love to use apples is in stews and soups. Apple brings added flavour and interest to traditional vegetable stews and other one-pot meals. I like to make a vegetable stew, for example, which combines stewed apple or unsweetened apple sauce alongside carrots, Swede or turnip, onions, leeks, and whatever green leafy vegetables I have on hand.
In fact, I find it useful to water bath can a quantity of unsweetened apple sauce so that I can reach for some whenever I am making big pots of recipes like this throughout the year. Though apple and vegetable stews are wonderful in the main for warming winter meals. And we tend mostly to eat these over the winter months.
Using Unsweetened Apple Sauce With Nut Roasts and Other Recipes
Another way that I like to use unsweetened apple sauce (simply stewed and blended apples and nothing else) is as a condiment with nut roasts and veggie bakes. Apple sauce is, of course, well known as an accompaniment for pork and other fatty meats. But it can also work very well as a side with a range of vegetarian and vegan dishes. Whether you are a meat eater or not, exploring plant-based recipes can help you add more interest and variety to your diet, and to eat more healthily.
Potato, Apple and Kale Gratin
Another savoury meal that I like to make with apples from my garden is a simple potato, apple and kale gratin. I layer thin slices of cooking apples, kale and potatoes and pour over a creamy sauce. I’ve made this with a cashew cream sauce, and also using dairy. Both ways, the apples bring a touch of lightness to this wintry dish.
Baking Apples into Savoury Breads
I also enjoy baking, and often use our cooking apples in a range of savoury breads, muffins and other baked goods. Apples work very well dotted through a simple rustic loaf, along with other ingredients like sunflower seeds and perhaps a few berries. These breads are great with soups, for simple sandwiches, or to make a grilled cheese toast, for example. Experimenting with adding fruit and other ingredients to various different breads can make your breads far more interesting and varied.
Preserving Apples from your Apple Harvest You Can’t Eat Right Away
If you have a lot of apples to use up, you might not be able to use them all up right away using the recipes mentioned above and other traditional sweet recipes. So learning how to preserve an apple harvest can be key.
Traditionally, apples were commonly often preserved by making sweet apple jams or jellies. And these can certainly be delicious. But apple preserves do not have to be sweet. Here are a few of the savoury apple preserves I like to make to give you some initial inspiration:
Apple butters are traditionally very sweet spreads used on toasts. However, slowly cooked down apple butter can also be used for savoury dishes. You might add spices like cinnamon and ginger and keep it relatively sweet, but eat it with cheeses or alongside savoury dishes. You might also consider making something more unusual like a curried apple butter, that works well alongside a range of spicy dishes.
Another great side for spicy dishes, or for cheese boards, is an apple chutney. Spicy, sweet, tangy and vinegary, a good apple chutney can be a delight. There are a great many different recipes for apple chutney, apple and onion chutney, apple and beetroot chutney and more which can help you explore strong flavours and interesting flavour combinations with your cooking apple crop.
Apple Barbecue Sauce
When you think barbecue sauce, your mind is likely to leap to tomatoes. But barbecue sauces can also be made using a range of other home grown ingredients. Apples included. By adding cooking apples to onions, garlic, soy sauce, honey, vinegar, and other ingredients such as liquid smoke and spices to taste, you can make a barbecue sauce that is sure to be a real crowd pleaser. Part of the fun might be in finding the perfect blend of ingredients that is ideally suited to your own and your family’s particular tastes.
These are just some ideas to help you make the most of your apple harvest. They are, of course, just a starting point for you to find inspiration and seek out (or create) your own exciting recipes. There are many more ideas to consider but the above could give you a place to begin. If you have more ideas to help people make the most of their apple harvests, or have some favourite recipes that you would like to share, please do reach out to share them below.
Elizabeth Waddington is a writer and green living consultant living in Scotland. Permaculture and sustainability are at the heart of everything she does, from designing gardens and farms around the world, to inspiring and facilitating positive change for small companies and individuals.
She also works on her own property, where she grows fruit and vegetables, keeps chickens and is working on the eco-renovation of an old stone barn.
To get in touch, visit https://ewspconsultancy.com.