What to Do With Older Apples
Apples are a delicious and versatile fruit that can be enjoyed in a multitude of ways. However, sometimes we find ourselves with a surplus of older apples that may not be as crisp and fresh as we’d like them to be. Instead of letting them go to waste, there are several creative and practical ways to make use of these older apples. Whether you have a few or a whole bushel, here are some ideas for what to do with older apples.
1. Make applesauce: Older apples are perfect for making homemade applesauce. Simply peel and core the apples, then cook them down with a bit of water, sugar, and spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. You can even leave the peels on for added texture and nutrients.
2. Bake apple pies: Older apples are ideal for baking pies. Their softer texture and slightly sweeter taste lend themselves well to a warm and comforting apple pie. Whether you use a classic recipe or experiment with different flavors, your taste buds will thank you.
3. Create apple crisps: Apple crisps are a delightful dessert that can be made with older apples. Slice the apples, toss them with some sugar, flour, and spices, and top with a crunchy oatmeal mixture. Bake until golden brown and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
4. Craft apple jelly: Transform your older apples into a sweet and tangy jelly that can be enjoyed on toast or as a glaze for meats. Simmer the apples with water and sugar, strain the liquid, and then cook it down with some pectin until it thickens into a glossy jelly.
5. Make apple butter: Apple butter is a delicious spread that pairs well with toast, biscuits, or even as a filling for pastries. Slow cook the apples with sugar, cinnamon, and a touch of lemon juice until they become soft and caramelized. Blend until smooth and enjoy the rich and velvety apple butter.
6. Whip up apple pancakes: Add some diced or grated older apples to your pancake batter for a fruity twist. The apples will add natural sweetness and moisture to the pancakes, making them even more delectable.
7. Prepare a savory apple chutney: If you prefer a savory option, make a flavorful apple chutney. Combine diced apples with onions, vinegar, spices, and a touch of sugar. Simmer until the apples are tender and the flavors meld together. This chutney is perfect for pairing with cheese or as a condiment for meat dishes.
8. Blend apple smoothies: Older apples are still great for blending into refreshing smoothies. Combine them with your favorite fruits, yogurt, and a splash of juice for a healthy and satisfying snack.
9. Dehydrate apple slices: Slice your older apples and dehydrate them to create crispy apple chips. These make for a nutritious and portable snack that can be enjoyed on the go.
10. Feed the wildlife: If you have apples that are too far gone to consume, consider leaving them in your backyard for wildlife to enjoy. Squirrels, deer, and birds will appreciate the treat.
11. Compost the apples: If all else fails, turn your older apples into compost. They will break down and provide valuable nutrients for your garden.
12. Donate to local farms or food banks: If you have a surplus of older apples, consider donating them to local farms or food banks. They may be able to use them to feed animals or distribute them to those in need.
1. Can I still eat older apples?
Yes, older apples can still be enjoyed. While they may not be as crisp as fresh apples, they are perfect for cooking, baking, or making sauces and preserves.
2. How can I tell if an apple is too old to eat?
If an apple is mushy, has brown spots, or has a fermented smell, it is likely too old to eat. However, you can still utilize it in other ways, such as making applesauce or apple butter.
3. Can I freeze older apples?
Yes, you can freeze older apples. Peel, core, and slice them, then place them in airtight bags or containers. Frozen apples can be used for baking or making smoothies.
4. How long do older apples last in the fridge?
Older apples can last for several weeks in the refrigerator, depending on their condition. However, it’s best to use them sooner rather than later for optimal taste and texture.
5. Can I use older apples in salads?
While older apples may not be as crisp, they can still be used in salads if you enjoy a softer texture. Their natural sweetness can complement savory ingredients like cheese and nuts.
6. What are the best apple varieties for cooking?
Some apple varieties that are known for their excellent cooking qualities include Granny Smith, Jonathan, and Cortland. However, feel free to experiment and use whatever apples you have on hand.
7. Can I mix different apple varieties when cooking?
Absolutely! Mixing different apple varieties can add depth and complexity to your dishes. Try combining sweeter and tart varieties for a well-balanced flavor.
8. Can I use older apples in canning?
Yes, older apples can be used in canning. Whether you’re making jams, jellies, or preserves, older apples will contribute their natural sweetness and help achieve a delightful consistency.
9. Are older apples less nutritious?
While older apples may lose some of their crispness and vitamin C content, they still contain fiber, antioxidants, and other essential nutrients. Including them in your diet can still provide health benefits.
10. Can I use older apples in baby food?
Yes, older apples can be used in homemade baby food. Cook them until soft, then puree or mash them to a consistency suitable for your baby.
11. What can I do with apple peels?
Apple peels can be used to make homemade apple cider vinegar or infused water. You can also dry them and use them in herbal tea blends.
12. Can I use older apples in savory dishes?
Absolutely! Older apples can add a pleasant sweetness and acidity to savory dishes, such as roasted meats, stews, or salads with vinaigrette dressings.