This week my mother came to visit and brought me a whole bushel of New Jersey apples. This is my favorite time of year because the apples have exceptional flavor. Unfortunately, they were a bit soft and I knew they would go bad soon…which means that I wont be able to eat them fresh for weeks like I was hoping. This has sparked a series of recipes, also known as How To Make Soon To Be Soft Apples Into Something Delicious.
I love oatmeal and I love apples and lucky for me the two are amazing together. Breakfast is actually developing very quickly into my favorite meal. I have had oatmeal for breakfast almost every day for the past 4 months and I have yet to get sick of it. Besides, as long as you dont add too much sugar (I actually don’t add any sugar, for me fruit makes it sweet enough but I know that’s an acquired taste) it’s really really healthy. I personally enjoy it with bananas but this week apples are in control.
There’s two ways to make oatmeal with apples. The first is Oatmeal with Apples on Top:
- One apple, any kind
- 1/2 cup Old fashioned rolled oats
- butter (just enough to coat pan)
- 1 cup water or milk
- Brown sugar, white sugar, honey, walnuts to add
Wash one apple. Cut into thin slices (I like them with skin on).
Meanwhile heat small fry pan. Add just enough butter to cover bottom on pan. Once sizzling, add apples. Stir every few minutes. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Continue to cook until slices are soft and just golden brown.
Meanwhile, in a separate pot combine one part old fashioned oats (1/2 cup per person) with two parts liquid (either water or milk or a combination of both. The more milk the creamier it will be). Cook on lowest heat, stirring occasionally. Oatmeal should start to bubble slightly. When all liquid is absorbed oatmeal is finished. Serve oatmeal in a bowl with apples on top. Add brown sugar, white sugar or honey if you like it sweeter.
You can also make oatmeal with apples cooked right in:
Combine one part oatmeal and two parts liquid in pan as above (all ingredients are the same). Put on low heat for a few minutes. Meanwhile, cut apple into small chunks.
Add to oatmeal and add cinnamon as desired. Stir occasionally. When oatmeal is cooked and dish is heated through you’re done. Add white sugar, brown sugar and honey as desired.
I like this version best with really crisp apples to get a bit of crunch but softer apples will add more flavor.
Of course, there are only so many times a person can eat oatmeal, even for a huge fan like me. I still have a billion apples left so I decided to try something new: Apple Butter! I was inspired by a diner that I went to last weekend that had life changing apple butter:
- 8-10 apples, peeled
- 1 tbs lemon juice
- 1/3 cup sugar (white or brown)
- nutmeg, cinamon and clove (if available)
- It doesn’t actually matter how many apples you have, even if you only have 4 or 5 I think it’s worth making apple butter…and honestly 10 apples makes A LOT of apple butter so be prepared to share with your friends.
- Substitute vinegar for lemon juice
- Nutmeg and clove are optional but if you don’t have them don’t even bother going to the store.
Wash and peel 10 apples. Cut into smallest chunks possible though I’m not very good at cutting in even sized pieces – luckily that doesn’t matter here.
Put apples in a large (your only large) pot. Bring to medium heat. If you have it, squeeze some lemon juice or add a little vinegar. Let cook for about 15 minutes such that the apples start letting out juice. Add ¼ – 1/3 cups sugar. Also add a generous amount of nutmeg, cinnamon and clove if you have it. Reduce heat such that mixture is just at a simmer.
Here comes the patience. Only make this if you happen to be home doing other things during the day. Keep on low heat all day. Keep the lid off the pot so that the water continues to evaporate. Keep tasting and adding cinnamon, nutmeg and clove. You want it to have a pretty strong spiced flavor but that’s up to personal taste. You may also want to add more sugar. I also like to add a dash of salt and black pepper.
Let cook for at least 4 hours on low heat. Make sure to mix and scrape the bottom so that it doesn’t burn. Apple butter will be done when the texture is fairly smooth and dark brown in color. You can also tell if it’s done by spreading some on a piece of toast – if it’s delicious and makes you want to have breakfast regardless of the time of day, it’s done.