8 awesome ideas for less-than-perfect apples

8 awesome ideas for less-than-perfect apples

It can be hard to beat the simple pleasure of biting into a crisp apple.

But what about the less-than-perfect apples that are on offer at the moment, some for less than dollar a kilogram?

They may be cheap because they are a non-standard size, misshapen, discoloured or bruised. Sure, they might not give you the same satisfying crunch when you bite into them, but there are many things you can do with them.

We shouldn’t be deterred by such ‘faults’ in our fruit – after all they are only cosmetic imperfections. In fact, you should take advantage of these cheap apples, as not only are you getting a bargain, you’re also saving these little beauties from ending up in landfill.

Use them in baking

Fruit bowl buns

Baking is a delicious way to use apples, especially ones that have gone slightly soft. Our baking picks? These fun fruit bowl buns are quick and easy to make, and a perfect treat for the lunch box. Allyson Gofton’s Amish apple cake is also a winner.

Freeze them

With the cheap prices, now is a good time to fill your freezer with apples. You can either freeze the apples raw (core and chop them first – they may discolour slightly) or stew them before freezing. Just add a little water and cook them on a medium heat until they have gone soft. Freezing them in serving size portions will allow them to defrost quickly. Use them to make this crunchy fruit and oat crumble or add them to your morning porridge.

Preserve them

Apple chutney
There are many different and delicious ways you can preserve apples. Try bottling them, making apple chutney or apple butter.  You may want to make a bigger batch than you think you’ll eat as they make great gifts.

Make cider vinegar

Many people cringe at the thought of apple cider vinegar, but others shout its praises and swear it can fix all sorts of ailments. It’s easy to make, with time the main ingredient (other than apples and sugar). Here’s how you can give it a go.

Add pastry

Apple tart

Who doesn’t love apple pie? There are so many different ways to make apple pies – try these rustic ones, these baked ones or this apple tart. If you don’t have pastry, you can still make a pie-esque treat with these apple roll-ups which are made with bread.

Add them to savoury foods

Apples go well with savoury foods – think apple sauce and roast pork! Try roasting some quartered apples in the dish alongside your next pork roast, or try these pork, apple and sage pies. You can also grate apples and add them to other savoury meals, like this chicken, potato and apple pie.

Dry them

Dried apple rings

Another way to preserve apples is to dry them. Dried apples make a great snack. If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can easily dry them in your oven. Slice the apples thinly – there is no need to peel or core them. Lay them on a baking tray and bake in a warm oven (about 100ºC) for a few hours, turning once. The longer you dry them, the crispier they will become. Store them in an air-tight container.

Keep the cores

Apple cores are high in pectin, making them really useful when it comes to making jam, as it is pectin which thickens the jam. To make your own liquid pectin, collect the cores and skins from your apples, and store them in the fridge or freezer until you have at least half a cup. Cover the apple cores with water and simmer them until they break up and turn slushy. Sieve the apple mush, collecting the liquid. Freeze this pectin stock in ice cube trays and add a couple of cubes to low pectin fruit jams such as strawberry. You can also add these to sauces and marmalade which need to set to a thicker consistency.

Remember: Apples ripen 6 to 10 times faster at room temperature so they should be stored in a plastic bag in the fridge to prolong their life.

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