We had three large apple trees on our property when I was growing up, and they produced gallons of various apple concoctions every year. We made pie apples, applesauce and apple butter. If we could preserve it in any form, it was, including drying them. I suspect that’s why I look for alternatives in how to use this fruit.
The oldest known site showing the use of apples is from 6500 B.C. Bits of charred apple were found on a site in Switzerland that dated back to that date. The first apple trees planted in North America was by the Pilgrims in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. It is interesting to point out that the only native trees are of the crab-apple variety.
In the kitchen, apples can perform tasks that may surprise you. For instance, sticking an apple in the cavity of a chicken prior to roasting can help produce a nice, juicy dinner. If your brown sugar has gotten hard, try adding some apple to soften it. To much salt in the soup? Add some apple slices to reduce the too salty flavor. It can even help to ripen green tomatoes.
If you’ve ever tried to pill any animal, you know that it is not easy to do. When dealing with the mobile mouth and tongue of a horse, it can be nearly impossible unless the horse is willing to cooperate. But, put the medication in an apple and most horses will gobble it up. I have to point out that they are quite capable of discovering the pill and spitting it out, so watch for that trick…
Apple juice has many uses as well. For these uses, get unsweetened, pure juice. The juice can help people with dandruff. Just put it onto your scalp, massage it in, then rinse it out. For facials, rinse your face with the juice then rinse again with clean water. It could even make a pleasant smelling bath additive.
I have to admit that my favorite use for apples is apple butter. It takes a long time to make, but it’s worth it. As there are only two of us and I don’t have room enough to make canning worthwhile, I make small batches.
Here are the instructions:
- Three apples (I like granny smith, but you can use any)
- One bottle of Apple Juice
- Cinnamon to taste plus one cinnamon stick
- Sugar to taste (I don’t add much, the juice is sweet enough for me)
Quarter and seed the apples, peel and all. Cut into chunks, add cinnamon stick and cover with juice. Bring to a boil, then turn it down to a simmer. Add powdered cinnamon Stir occasionally and add more juice until the fruit is cooked down and it’s about the consistency of applesauce. If you run out of juice, you can add water. Add sugar to taste and allow it to cool before refrigerating.
Mary Bodel has been a master herbalist since 2004 although my training began long before I reached that level. I believe that health encompasses more than taking care of our bodies. It involves everything from what we eat to what we read. It involves our spirit as well as our body.