Apple season in Ohio: 3 DIY projects for locally grown apples

Support local farmers' pick-your-own apple orchards and learn to make apple cider vinegar, apple butter and apple rings.

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It’s apple season in Ohio, a time when local orchards invite customers to pick-your-own apples, pumpkins and other fall goodies. Support local farmers while enjoying the awesome autumn weather.

Find fall activities:

A standard pick-your-own bag holds ½ bushel of apples — that’s 20 pounds! If you leave wondering what in the world you are going to do with 20 lbs of apples, have no fear: DIY apple cider vinegar, apple butter and apple rings will put those apples to good use.

Raw apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is a staple for health and home. It is a natural remedy for acid reflux, and doubles as a detoxifier when taken internally. Its culinary uses include pickling, slaws and salads. Clean house with ACV to kill germs and fungus naturally.

apple cider vinegar

Supplies

  • 8-10 apples
  • 4 cups warm water
  • 1/4 cup cane sugar
  • Jars
  • Cheesecloth & rubber band, or wire mesh lid

Directions

  1. Wash, peel, core and chop apples.
  2. Place apple meat in a crock or oversized wide mouth jars.  
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together warm water and sugar until dissolved. Pour over apples.
  4. Cover the top of the jar with cheesecloth and secure with a rubber band or a wire mesh lid.
  5. Keep at room temperature for 2 weeks. Bubbles will form as the fruit ferments into alcohol during yeast fermentation.
  6. When the apples sink to the bottom of the jar, strain liquid into a fresh glass jar. Cover with breathable lid.
  7. Keep at room temperature for an additional 3-4 weeks to turn alcohol to acetic acid. A mother culture will form at top.
  8. Sample vinegar for sourness. If it does not taste tangy, cover and keep at room temperature for another week, then sample again.
  9. ACV is ready in 6-8 weeks. Makes approximately 1 gallon.

Slow cooker apple butter

Apple butter is cooked low and slow until apples caramelize into a deep, smooth sauce. Traditionally it’s made in an iron kettle over an open fire, but this recipe is for your slow cooker.

apple butter

Supplies

  • 1 peck apples, cored, peeled, sliced
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp cloves
  • ½ tsp ginger
  • ½ tsp salt

Directions

  1. Place apple meat in a large bowl.
  2. Combine sugars, spices and salt in a slow cooker. Turn to high for 1 hour.
  3. Stir in as many apples that fit into slow cooker.
  4. Reduce heat to low. Cook 8-10 hours, stirring occasionally.
  5. Apples will have cooked down considerably. Stir in remaining apples. Cook an additional 8-10 hours.
  6. Process apple butter in a food processor or blender until smooth.
  7. Fill jars leaving ¼ inch headspace. Process according to safe canning guidelines.

Apple rings (dried apples)

Apples were one of the first cultivated fruits in the U.S. Pioneers removed the core, sliced into rings and hung to dry. Apple rings made great food for the trail, and were a sweet winter treat.

apple-rings-602242_1280

Supplies

  • Apples
  • Lemon juice or ascorbic acid (vitamin C)
  • String or dehydrator

Directions

  1. Peel apples.
  2. Remove core.
  3. Slice in ¼ inch rings.
  4. Dip apple rings in lemon juice or an ascorbic acid solution to prevent browning.
  5. Put rings on string and hang in a well ventilated place until completely dry or spread apples on dehydrator drying trays. Dehydrate at 125 degrees Fahrenheit until dry.

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