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Apple Cider, Applesauce, + Baked Apples!

Ever since I was a reeeeally little kid, we’d go to Larriland Farm every year during the fall to pick a crap ton of apples. (I vividly remember losing my Tamagotchi/Giga Pet one year at the farm and my dad stopping on the way home to replace it. <3) In more recent years, it’s become quite an attraction, with farm animals, fair food, hay rides, face painting, live music – basically, food & fun galore. You can then go up to the barn to buy apple butter, apple cider, apple cider donuts, apple fritters, caramel apples… Pretty much every apple confection you could ever imagine, plus, sooo much more. Going to Larriland is one of the main reasons I love fall!

 

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As I’ve gotten older, I’ve really started to appreciate that trusty old pick-your-own-crap farm. I used to despise going to pick frickin’ vegetables. I really thought it was my mom’s favorite way to torture me. “We’re going apple picking! Butfirstweneedtospendanhourpickingstupidvegetables.Of course, the apple-picking part was awesome, but, veggie-picking was not, because… vegetables. Cringe. This year I was really pumped to go into those vegetable fields and develop some fun recipes with the fruits (veggies? lul) of my labor.

 

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I came home with broccoli, kale, swiss chard, spinach, beets, and apples, of course! Plus some giant pumpkins to carve and a few other treats including my annual bag of Baltimore’s famous Otterbein’s cookies that we just won’t speak about. I CAN’T BE PALEO ALL THE TIME, OKAY. OTTERBEIN’S COOKIES ARE NECESSARY IN LIFE… I may or may not be suggesting that you order some online… WHOOPS. #badinfluence

 

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whatchu kno bout #datgoatlife. BEARDS GALORE. (also, LLAMAS!!!)

‘Kill the cookie talk and let’s get back to the apples. As one would imagine, I had a PLETHORA of apples to use and I had never made applesauce, baked apples, OR cider. It was time. And I immediately vowed to never buy applesauce again. I’m not even that crazy about applesauce, but, the taste was so out of this world, I couldn’t stop eating my super simple homemade version. I had already dropped & broke one jar of it (James swooped in to clean this up for me. He was worried I’d cut my hands. Sweet Prince. <3) and wanted to make applesauce pancakes, so, I really couldn’t afford to lose (aka eat) anymore!

 

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So, if the applesauce was great, what about the juice + cider? Well, I tried all 3 kinds. Juice, Juice-Cider AND Crockpot Cider. Allllll amazing. The baked apples? Amazing, too! They were a warm, welcome treat after being in the kitchen all day. Plus, they’re sooo light and versatile – not heavy or overly sweet at all! Swap filling ingredients to customize these bad boys and I promise you won’t be sorry. Happy Appling! (this should seriously be a phrase.)

 

Apple 3-in-1: Juice + Cider, Applesauce, & Baked Apples
 
Ingredients
Apple Juice:
  • 4 lbs apples (I used half Fuji, half Honeycrisp)
  • 3x layer cheesecloth
  • fine mesh sieve/strainer
  • large air tight glass jar
  • juicer (or blender/food processor + fine mesh sieve)
Apple Cider:
  • fresh-pressed apple juice OR 10 apples, roughly chopped & covered with water
  • 2-4 sticks cinnamon
  • Optional Additions: honey, 1 orange, ¼ in slice fresh ginger, pinch allspice/cloves/nutmeg
Applesauce:
  • 4 lbs apples of choice, peeled, cored, & sliced (I used Gala, Honeycrisp, & Envy)
  • ½ cup water OR cider
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • fresh nutmeg - grated or whole
  • pinch allspice
  • tiny pinch salt
  • Optional Addition: 1 to 4 tbsp coconut sugar, honey, OR maple syrup, depending on tartness of apples (I used 1 T coco sugar)
Baked Apples:
  • 2 equal size apples of choice, cored, scored, & scooped
  • 2 tsp butter, ghee, OR coconut oil, divided in half
  • ½ cup walnuts/pecans, chopped
  • ¼ cup raisins, chopped
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ⅛ tsp sea salt
  • Optional Swaps/Additions: shredded coconut, heavy cream, full fat coconut milk, dried cranberries, dried figs, dried cherries/berries, dates, almonds, hazelnuts, macadamias
Instructions
Apple Juice:
  1. Thoroughly rinse & chop apples.
  2. Run apple chunks through juicer and, using a funnel, pour juice through 3-4 layers cheesecloth into an airtight glass jar. (You could use a blender/food processor - it just takes more work to squeeze & strain the apple puree into juice through a cheesecloth)
  3. Use a spoon to move pulp around so the cheesecloth doesn't get clogged and store juice, refrigerated, up to 1 week.
Apple Cider:
  1. Place ingredients into a pot and simmer covered over med low heat for 2 hours or until fragrant. Alternatively, cover 10 chopped apples in a crockpot with water and simmer on low for 24 hrs or high for 12 hrs.
Applesauce:
  1. Saute all ingredients over med heat in a covered dutch oven for 30 mins, stirring occasionally.
  2. Puree in food processor in batches for classic, smooth applesauce. For a more chunky, "rustic" applesauce, puree by hand with a potato masher.
Baked Apples:
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Core apples, making sure not to cut through the bottom of the apple. Score the skin of the apple, making 4 vertical slits in the apple's skin for ventilation.
  3. Scoop out some apple flesh and fill with chopped fruit & nut mixture of choice. Top each apple with 1 tsp butter/ghee and another sprinkle of cinnamon.

  4. Place in a baking dish and fill dish with water/cider. Bake at 350 for 1 hour.

 

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Nicole
Blogger at Merit + Fork
Chef de Cuisine of Merit + Fork, Nicole's posts are primarily food driven, with a dash of natural health and beauty tips for good measure.

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