An Apple a Day...

Homemade cider press from Instructables.
It's a great year for apples. Whether you've got a tree or two in your yard, enjoy picking your own, or just love to load up at farmers' markets, we're coming up on a strong season of pies, fresh-pressed cider, turnovers, and any other apple-related dishes you can dream up.

After a tricky season last year when droughts caused a marked decrease in fruit production, apples have made a comeback with places like the local Burrville Cider Mill bringing back gallon jugs of cider and a marked drop in consumer cost for the fruit that did Adam and Eve in.

So however you go about acquiring this most wonderful fruit, consider between bites creating a delicious batch of apple sauce, pressing your own cider, or just utilizing one of the below recipes for a treat that's, well, sweet like apple pie on a Sunday afternoon.

Not for the faint of heart, here's a tutorial on constructing your very own cider press:

And for the rest of you, here are some great recipes being broadcast throughout the Internet in recent days:

Canned Apple Pie Filling
Great as a gift, or for storing until you want a fresh-baked pie this winter!

10 pounds tart apples - peeled, cored and sliced (~20 cups sliced)
5 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cup Clearjel
1 T. cinnamon
2-1/2 cups cold water (2 1/2 qts water if you omit apple juice)
5 cups apple juice
1 tsp. nutmeg
3/4 cup bottled lemon juice

Preparation -
For fresh apples, place 6 cups at a time into 1 gallon of boiling water and boil one minute when it comes back to a boil. Drain but keep fruit covered in a bowl.
In a stockpot, mix the sugar, Clearjel, cinnamon, nutmeg together. Add the water and apple juice, stir to mix well. Bring to a boil and cook until thick and bubbly, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Add the lemon juice. Fold apples into mixture.

Pack the apples into hot, sterilized quart size canning jars. Best way to fill is in layers. Using the funnel ladle one large scoop and using the spatula press the apples down in the jar to remove the bubbles. Continue filling using this technique so that you work your way up the jar with as little air bubbles as possible. Fill the jars to 1" headspace. (Because of expansion you can go to 2")

Wipe the rims and place the hot lid/rings on the jars. Process in a water bath canner for 25 minutes at a full rolling boil. Wait 5 minutes, remove and place on dishtowel overnight undisturbed. The next day remove rings and clean jars and label with recipe name and date. Store in a cool, dry, and dark place.  This recipe will make 6 - 7 quarts.

Note: For a great variation substitute brown sugar for the regular sugar and apple cider for the apple juice. This will make an amazing Caramel Apple Pie filling! 

If you need Clear Jel you can order it from the SB Canning Store!
BEST Vegan Apple Pie
From My Vegan Son 
Pie crust (make your own or check out the “Wholly Wholesome” organic, traditional pie crust) Filling:
  • 4 large organic apple
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • juice of one lime
  • 2 Tbs. flour
Pie Top:
  • 1 stick of butter or vegan replacement (~1/2 c.)
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • (1/3) cup sugar
Preheat your oven to 350F. Wash, peel, and chop your apples. Place them in a bowl. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar, flour, and lime juice. Mix well. Pour the apples on the pie crust.

In a separate bowl place the buttery stick, the flour, and the sugar. Using your hands, combine the ingredients until they form a dough. Make one big dough ball and break into four smaller dough balls. Each dough ball should cover about 1/4 of the pie. Using your hands, flatten the dough balls as if you were making tortillas and start covering up the pie until it is completely covered.
Bake for about 45 minutes or until slightly golden (see picture).
Let it cool before you dig in
*Note: Always bake the pie on top of a pizza pan in case of pie drippings. 
Cranberry and Apple Crumble
From Spoonful
Cranberry and Apple Crumble

This sweet-tart crumble is best served warm, topped with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream (or vegan alternative). To be sure you're using the freshest berries, you'll want to choose fruit that has bounce in it. Or you can put it to the water test. Small pockets of air trapped in fresh cranberries make them bounce—and float in water.
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup chilled butter, cut into small pieces
  • 6 cups peeled and sliced (about 1/2 inch thick) apples (we like Braeburn or Granny Smith)
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/3 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  1. Heat the oven to 375°. Combine the flour, G cup of the sugar, the brown sugar, and the butter in a bowl. Mix the ingredients with your fingertips to create pea-size crumbs. (Alternatively, pulse the mixture in a food processor 10 times or so.)
  2. Combine the apple slices and cranberries in a large bowl. Mix the juice, remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar, and cornstarch in a small bowl. Pour the mixture over the fruit and toss well.
  3. Spoon the fruit into a 2-quart baking dish and sprinkle on the flour mixture. Bake the crumble until bubbly and golden brown, about 40 minutes. Serves 6 to 8.

Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.