Now every home cook and baker have come to this point in time. A recipe is found that seems to be a must-do. The ingredient list is short, the preparation is simple enough, and then it hits. As the gathering of ingredients begins, holy moly, I am out of…? For the majority of folks, hopping into a vehicle, or walking a few streets, gets us to a food store. Nowadays though, when we get there, what are we finding? Either the shelves have been emptied due to a multitude of reasons that boggle the mind, or the prices have super inflated suddenly.
Alright, once again, I still feel that we are all being pushed to practice self-sufficiency, and making America self-sustaining. I will not apologize for repeating this, as my goal is to get people to think outside of their cozy little box. Think of it this way, growing, processing and storing your own food is certainly more tangible than cryptocurrency which is based on faith, and nothing concrete.
Apples, I do not know anyone who does not enjoy a good, crisp apple to munch on. The varieties seem to be increasing yearly with enticing names such as Cosmic Crisp, Pink Lady, Envy or even to make us imagine a trip far away…Rome. Each apple has its use in the cooking/baking world dependent upon sweet/sour/tart, or texture such as firm/crisp/semi-firm. Depending upon a recipe, some call for a specific type, such as Granny Smith is the ultimate pie making apple, to Gala or Braeburn for cake baking.
Back to how to avoid not having availability. While many can do canning, not everyone has the want to do, or the storage space to have, jars of preserved goods. I have mentioned dehydration in a few past articles, but it is timely, and dehydrators may be pricey. Freezers though are a great investment for food storage; whether it is vegetables, fruits, processed hunting game, or even baked goods. Wrapped appropriately, labeled and dated, many items can last six months to one year.So, how can apples be frozen? When peeling apples, metal upon the fruit will begin an oxidation process, and brown spots or mottling will begin. Make sure to have a bowl of cold water plus lemon juice readily available (1/4 cup lemon juice to every gallon of water). Core the apples, peel and either chop into small to medium chunks, or slice thinly. Make sure to have a plan of attack…what do you need, for what recipe?
When done, drain the
apples and spread them across a pan, lined with wax paper; make sure they are
in a single layer. Freeze for one hour,
peel off the wax paper and drop into a freezer bag that has been labeled and
dated. Seal the bag, and squeeze out as
much air as possible; the bags can be stacked, in the freezer. When the apples are needed, use frozen, but
your baked good might take longer to make; or thaw in the fridge. Do not drain any excess water, that’s good
apple flavor right there, so adjust liquid in the recipe itself.
Need apple pie filling? Slice the apples, mix with sugar and spices, and freeze directly inside a gallon sized bag.
Alright, now you are saying, “But Mary, summer is almost here and who is really thinking about baking in the heat?” Imagine, it is hot, you have just finished mowing the lawn, you just want something cold. How about popping a couple of frozen apple chunks into your mouth? As they thaw, from the heat of your own body, the cool liquid flows and the taste of apple makes you smile. Pop some of those apple chunks into your iced tea, instead of ice cubes; they will not water down your drink, and you have a little snack to boot.
Now here’s an apple cake recipe; one bowl, two baking pans, and you can freeze them for up to 3 months. Easy-peasy 1-2-3!
One Bowl Apple Cake
2 large eggs
1 and ¾ cups sugar (or equivalent in sugar substitute)
3 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
½ cup canola oil
1 and ½ lbs. (about 6 medium size) apples (Gala or Braeburn are my choice)
2 cups all-purpose flour (high altitude, add 3 Tbsp.)
2 tsp. baking soda
Preheat oven to 350F. Spray 2–9-inch baking pans with non-stick baking spray.
In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and oil. After coring, peeling and slicing each apple, add immediately into bowl, and coat with liquid mixture.
Sift together flour and baking soda; mix gently into the apples until thoroughly incorporated.
Divide between the two baking pans; bake for 50-55 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out cleanly from center.
Makes two cakes.
I am terrible at dividing up between pans, so used two bowls, putting half of each item into each bowl.
Storage: In refrigerator, wrap in plastic, or place inside plastic storage bag. In freezer, wrap tightly inside two layers of plastic wrap; label, date and will last up to 3 months. Thaw in refrigerator.
These cakes, whether freshly eaten, or after thawing from freezer, are moist, full of spicy apple flavor, and have the texture of a streusel coffee cake without having to use a brown sugar topping.