Apples – Thinking Beyond Crumble and Pie

As our apple harvest begins, I have started making use of some of our cooking apples. We have six apple trees here, five of which have done well this year, and so we soon tire of traditional recipes like apple crumble and apple pie. To be honest, we don’t very often eat desserts through the week, so we’ve had to think about savoury ways to use our apples. Naturally, trying to live sustainably, we want to make sure we avoid food waste and make the most of our harvest.

Of course, I also can apple sauce (unsweetened), apple butter, and several other preserves, including savoury recipes like apple chutney. But I also like to make savoury recipes using apples to eat right away, or sometimes to freeze.

One of my favourite meals – great for a chilly autumnal day, or for the depths of winter is a hearty root vegetable and apple stew. This could not be easier to make. I simply put lots of apples, carrots, swede (rutabaga), water, vegetable stock, and lots of herbs (thyme, oregano, rosemary, bay…) into a large pot (or my slow cooker) with a little honey and a spoonful of Marmite (TM) .

The proportions of the various ingredients don’t really matter. I vary this a lot depending on the ingredients that I happen to have on hand. But I think that plenty of apple really lifts the flavour. This is great with a home-baked bread – and I sometimes add herbs and apple to that too.

Another thing I like to do is to add stewed apple into a nut roast or lentil/pulse veggie bake, to add flavour and moisture. Unsweetened apple sauce and caramelised onions also make great accompaniments to drier vegetarian bakes.

If the weather is not as grey and chilly, then lighter meals go down well. One thing I love to do on sunny days is make a ‘slaw’ with cabbage (or kale), beetroot, perhaps some kohlrabi or carrot, and some tart cooking apple, thinly grated. You can make your own mayonnaise with fresh eggs, a mild-flavoured oil, and apple cider vinegar.

We will also simply toss tart apple slices or grated apple into a range of different leafy salads, using whatever is in season from the garden at a certain time of year.

These are just a few ideas that might help you think beyond crumbles and pies this apple season.

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