Last weekend I collected kilos of apples (I am not sure exactly how many) from my local farm gate. I like to do this each year when they are in season. I process them to use across the remainder of the year until the season returns. I dislike buying dried fruit from the store as I have been unable to find any that is sulfate-free.
Buying apples when they are in season from my local farm gate allows me to prepare them for us to enjoy across a long period and I can be certain they are free from any chemical residue. This may mean that I make a sauce, or jam, sorbet, or a paste. I do the same thing with other fruits we enjoy such as apricots and other stone fruit, berries, lemons and tomatoes.
So how do you use a big harvest (or purchase) of apples? This is how I used ours.
Obviously the best way to use fruit or vegetables that have been recently harvested is fresh. The kids have been taking an apple in their lunch box each day this week.
On the evening of the day we collected the apples my eight year old made us apple crumble for dessert. He makes a great crumble. He has been practicing for the past three weeks and it is getting better and better each time. He is quite proud of his meal contribution.
The box of apples was not diminishing very fast!
I have been enjoying looking at the beautiful form of these apples – perfectly imperfect. They have been displayed in a bowl on the kitchen bench. After a few days cooking inspiration was yet to hit and I knew I needed to do something with them so they did not go to waste.
On Wednesday morning I went to the kitchen to take a break from writing and make a coffee, the apples were staring at me from the bench. The next thing I knew I had the oven on and was baking a cake! The recipe is below.
As it happens our feijoa tree is also currently in full production mode so I also have kilos of feijoa to use at the moment. To date they have mainly been used in Mr Fresh’s favourite jam.
Feijoa and apple compliment each other beautifully. Set a pot of feijoa and apple with a cinnamon stick to simmer until they are cooked. Once cooked, mash and pour into ice cube trays to freeze. Once frozen these cubes may be stored in zip lock bags or plastic containers to use in baking. I use them in the weekly baked cake or muffins that are added to school lunch boxes. It is an easy way to have a supply of fruit on hand for this activity.
As per the process to freeze, cook fruit you have on hand, I used feijoa, apples with some berries I’d frozen from summer plus apricots I had previously cooked and frozen. Once the mixture had simmered and the fruit has softened spread it onto baking paper on the dehydrator trays. Dry as per the machines instructions.
This makes a great supply of fruit wraps that the kids love to eat as a snack.
I have also run two big batches of apples that have simply been peeled and sliced through the dehydrator for snacks and also baking. My 5 year old adores these apple rings as a snack.
These three things used up the kilos of apples I had on hand and will keep us eating beautiful local fruit for months after they are out of season. In the meantime I also got creative with those feijoa and the apples and baked this cake – instead of making a coffee. I hope that you enjoy it. Eat it warm out of the oven spread with a little butter (and finish making the coffee).
- 350 grams fresh apple - peeled, cored and cut into even sized pieces
- 400 grams feijoa fruit - flesh scooped from the skin
- cinnamon stick
- ¼ cup water
- ½ cup coconut sugar
- 150 grams butter softened
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup self raising flour
- ½ cup rye flour
- ½ cup shredded coconut
- Add the apples, feijoa, cinnamon stick and water to a saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer until the fruit has softened.
- Once the fruit has softened, mash until reasonably smooth
- Set the oven to heat to 170 degrees celcius
- To a bowl add the coconut sugar and butter and beat until well combined
- Add one egg and continue to beat until well incorporated
- Add the additional egg and continue to beat until well incorporated
- Use a wooden spoon to add the flours, coconut and cooked fruit and stir well
- Line a cake tin with baking paper or grease well
- Pour the cake mixture into the tin
- Add to the oven and bake for 25 min or until cooked through
- Test for readiness with a knife - insert into the centre of the cake and if removed cleanly it is ready
Our little apple tree had it’s first harvest this year. I am looking forward to collecting our own apples in future years and having to work out ways to use them.
If you have an apple tree, or buy fresh fruit in season in bulk as we do, I’d love to hear what you make with them. Please tell me in the comments below.
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