VegBox Recipes

Apple

Apple "An apple a day keeps the doctor away". How many times did you hear that, when you were a kid? Yet there's more to the humble apple than we might think. Find out why apples are so good for you, how to store them and how to enjoy them.

In Season?
In season fresh (UK) from August to November. Usually available from store or imported all year round.
Buy?
Best to go for organic apples, or else to peel them, as apples are one of the most heavily sprayed crops
Store?
Better to store them somewhere cool and dark than in the fridge, to avoid them losing flavour and becoming “powdery”. Early season (September) apples, like the Discovery, will only last a week. Some later season apples can be kept for months if individually wrapped in newspaper and kept somewhere cool and dark.
Freeze?
Only after cooking - or they can be dried in slices in the oven
Cook?
Whilst apples are a great snack, they are also great raw in salads or juices, or cooked in sauces and, of course, baked in crumbles and pies!

More Apple Information

Although thought to originate from South West Asia, apples are now found in most temperate climates, worldwide.

Apples are in season in the UK from late summer to late autumn.

Fresh, UK apples taste incredible, compared to last season's sea-freighted stock from the other side of the world. So they're an annual treat to look forward to.


They do store well, but lose their vitamin content and texture, becoming more powdery if kept in chillers.

Apples are a great source of Vitamin C and antioxidants.

They're a good source of fibre, vitamin C, pectin (which helps the body rid itself of heavy metals) and flavonoids (powerful anti-oxidants, which can help prevent disease).

Apples can range from very sweet to decidedly tart, depending on the variety. It's worth trying out different varieties, just to experience the wide range of flavours the humble apple offers.

Also, if you are environmentally minded, look out for buying apples out of season, as they are often shipped from as far away as New Zealand. When choosing your apples, do try your local farmers’ market or even better, have a fun day out at an orchard. Don’t be afraid of blemishes or more dull, less shiny skins – and try sniffing apples when you’re shopping – really! An absence of fragrance is a good sign that your apple will lack flavour, however bright, shiny and blemish-less it is…

If you have the option, only choose organic apples. Apples are one of the most heavily sprayed crops and significant levels of pesticides, fertilisers and fungicides are found in non-organic produce. If you don't have this option, then it's probably better to peel them.

Choose apples that are as fresh as possible.

Warning: Imported apples can be up to 9 months old!
If you're concerned about food miles, it's essential to check the country of origin. Outside of the UK season, apples are often shipped from as far as New Zealand and Argentina. Not only does this have an environmental impact, but your apples will be months old, by the time you eat them.

Eat your apples while they're still firm.

Blemishes aren't a problem - nor are funny shapes. So your veg box apples might not look as cosmetically perfect as the supermarket variety. But they should taste better.


Some would say that the humble apple has played a critical role for mankind throughout history… Think Adam and Eve, or Sir Isaac Newton!

They are full of fibre and Vitamin C, are low in calories, make an absolutely delicious and easy snack, and are even thought to help us eliminate problems, such as joint pain, caused by the build up of unwanted waste in the system, which they can help to eliminate.

And there are so many different types of apple to try, just in the UK alone. Some of them are sweet, some a little more “tart”, some crisp and green, some red and fluffy … and around the world there are more than 7,000 varieties.

What To Do With Apple

There really is no need to peel your apples, if they are organic and washed well, and especially as many of the nutrients are found just below the skin.

If you’re slicing your apples, it’s a good idea to plop the slices into water with lemon juice in, to stop them discolouring.

If you have Bramleys, those are the favourite for baking – we don’t recommend trying to eat Bramleys raw! If you’ve got Granny Smiths, or Coxes, those are great either for eating raw or for using in tarts and flans.

And do have a go at saucing your apples – it’s so easy! Just boil the apple chunks or slices until they’re soft, and then mash to the desired consistency. For variation, you could try adding spices (like nutmeg), or you could even add a berry fruit to the boiling stage – popular choices are blackberries and strawberries.

Little Known Apple Facts

  • All belong in the Rosaceae family, which includes roses, strawberries and apricots, to name a few.


  • Apples absorb other odors, so keep them away from garlic and onions!


  • You need two apple trees close together to ensure pollination.


  • The first colonists to Northern America took apple seeds with them.


  • Avoid ingesting apple pips. Not because you’ll get apple trees growing out of your belly button, like my Mum used to say (!), but because they contain a substance that, when it breaks down, turns into hydrogen cyanide. We think you’d have to eat a lot to actually get ill, but still, it doesn’t seem like a great idea…


Bramble & Apple Jelly
Go straight back to your childhood with this recipe, when you've been out picking wild blackberries and apples.
Ingredients
  • As many blackberries as you picked
  • About twice as many (by weight) of apples
  • We used wild apples, but Bramleys would also be delicious
  • You need an apple with a tang, rather than a dessert apple, which would make this too sweet

Method
  1. Carefully wash the blackberries, to remove dirt and any visiting insects. Remove any that are over-ripe.

  2. Wash the apples and cut out any rotten bits. Chop them into quarters or eigths.

    There's no need to peel or core the apples.

  3. Put all the fruit into a large pan and cover. Simmer gently for up to an hour, until the apples are soft.

  4. Pour the fruit mixture into a jam net, suspended over a large bowl. (You may need to get creative for this!). Leave overnight for the juices to drip into the bowl.

  5. Next morning: measure how much juice you got.
    For each 600ml of juice, add 450g of sugar to a large pan.

  6. Bring to the boil and continue to boil gently, stirring regularly, for 10 - 15 minutes.

  7. Test whether the jelly is set by dipping a frozen teaspoon into the pan and removing it. If, after a few seconds, the consistency is looking "jam-like", then you're probably there. Don't boil for more than 15 minutes.

  8. Sterilise some jars by washing them and then drying in an oven at 100 deg C for 30 minutes.

  9. Pour the jam into the hot jars. Cover and leave to cool.



Cupboard-To-Table

Night before - about 10 minutes' preparation time
Next day - about 20 minutes, including cooking

Suggested Apple Recipes

Apple & Blackberry Crumble

Apple and Blackberry crumble is a definitive autumn dessert. In this version, you save even more time by not peeling the apples or pre-cooking the fruit.

Apple Pie With Cheddar Cheese

We have been provided with this clever recipe for "sweet 'n savoury" fans, by the lovely folk over at ApplePie.org.

Baked Butternut Squash With Apple

Baking or roasting squash gives it a sweeter flavour. Stuffing it with apple makes a delicious variation.

Blackberry & Apple Syrup

This is a delicious way of preserving blackberries and cooking apples. It keeps well in sterilised jars or frozen in pots in the freezer.

Blackberry Smoothie

Yesterday evening brought with it late August sunshine and a gorgeous and delicious walk in the local nature reserve, tupperware in hand!

We came home with the first of several (hopefully) tubs full of tender, sweet, shining blackberries.

We had some of them with apples in a pie, and this morning I just could not resist adding them to our morning smoothie - I HAD to see what the colour would be like.

Wow!

Blackcurrant and Apple Jam

This recipe has been provided for us by the lovely people over at The Blackcurrant Foundation.

We normally balk at the idea of making jam, because of the associations we have of seemingly arcane methods requiring something called muslin?!

However, no such trouble with this one. You just need a saucepan and some jam jars. Easy peasy blackcurrant squeezy.

Blackcurrant Smoothie

This recipe is fresh from the folks at The Blackcurrant Foundation.

Bramble & Apple Jelly

Go straight back to your childhood with this recipe, when you've been out picking wild blackberries and apples.

Bramley Apple Sauce

To accompany our seasonal feature on Bramleys, which are in season from late September through to the end of March, here is a recipe for apple sauce which no household should be without.

With thanks to the Bramley Apple Information Service for the picture.

Breakfast Juice

If you have a juicer, this recipe takes just a few minutes to make. And it's a great way to boost your energy levels for the day.

Celeriac and Apple Bake

Celeriac can be a much-misunderstood vegetable.

Not only does it look, quite frankly, odd, but if you chop it and boil it, it looks just like potato, which can give the unsuspecting a bit of a taste shock!

This recipe uses a delicious combination of celeriac with apple, to create a sweet, warming winter bake. It's a great way of introducing celeriac to fussy eaters or just those who fancy a change.

Classic English Pancakes

Pancakes are traditionally served on Shrove Tuesday, which is always 47 days before Easter Sunday, and is the final day before the commencement of Lent. As Lent is, for Christians, a time of abstinence of some kind - of giving things up - pancakes are the perfect food for the day before, using as they do eggs, fat and flour - foods seen as luxurious and that were forbidden for strict Lent observers.

Not so many people observe Lent these days, although it can be such a useful practice - regardless of our religious or spiritual identity - for appreciating more keenly the luxuries of every day life which we may take for granted.

A period of renunciation can help is discover, perhaps, how attached we can get to and even how reliant we can be upon certain things and certain behaviours.

Meanwhile, though, back to those pancakes!

Coleslaw

Home-made coleslaw is quick, delicious and easy. It's just a case of grating / slicing the ingredients and mixing them with the dressing.

Cosy Baked Stuffed Apples

This recipe was suggested to us by our good friend Gill in London. It's a really comforting "old-school pud" that you can play around with, and which also works brilliantly for breakfast times.

Creamy Pumpkin and Black Bean Chili

We've been given permission to share this recipe with you by Waverly Fitzgerald, author of Slow Time: Recovering the Natural Rhythm of Life and creator of the semi-monthly e-newsletter Living in Season, which shows how to bring the beauty of the current season into our lives with ideas for simple actions, seasonal recipes and easy projects, plus recommendations for books and other resources.

We love Waverly's resources and inspirations, and we love this recipe too.

Denise Tolson's Bramley, Cox and Celeriac Dish

This recipe was provided to us by Denise Tolson (of Jerusalem Artichoke fame!). She got it from her mum. We love it because it uses not one but TWO types of apple, and unlike our other celeriac and apple recipe, this one is really quite luxurious. Enjoy!

Thanks to The Bramley Apple Information Service for the photo.

Denise Tolson's Smoked Haddock and Early Apples

Apples come into season in the UK in August, and there are varieties in season all the way through till the end of March.

Denise Tolson, VegBox Regular and our "Appointed Apple-Afficionado for August", recommends a savoury recipe using smoked haddock and early season apples.

Fruit Tempura

Here's a modern take on an old idea. This works well with bananas, peaches, apricots, apple wedges... Your imagination is the limit!

Fruity Porridge

Porridge isn’t just a great way to start the day, it also makes a great meal at lunchtime or for a late supper. By adding dried fruits and seeds, you’re giving yourself a real boost of slow release carbohydrates and essential fatty acids.

Funny Hurried Yummy Summer Honey Kohl Rabi Stir-Fry

A recent dilemma: 30 minutes before we have to leave the house. We're starving. We've only got odds and ends left in the fridge to use. Cue "Flight of the Bumble-Bee" and chopping for my life - it was stir fry time!

Grilled Apple and Cheese Sandwich

This snack is a firm favourite in our house, especially on the days when we’re in a hurry, the cupboards are a little bare, and there's no time to go shopping! All you need is bread, cheese and apples, after all!

Halloween Sweet Eyeballs

Mu-ha-ha-ha-haaaah!

Lentil Bake (With Optional Apple)

Lentil bake doesn't have to be dull! In fact, if made well, it's absolutely delicious. And it's a great way of using up any spare veg box items - or even some from the fruit bag. See the Variations for using apples, mushrooms, and carrots.

Peanut Butter Coleslaw

This coleslaw recipe gets an extra zing with the addition of peanut butter to the sauce. It’s packed with delicious fresh vegetables and fruits, but misses out the traditional onion, which makes it a bit more “lunch-time-friendly”, if you know what I mean!

Red Cabbage & Apple

If you're finding it tough to get your family to eat red cabbage, then this recipe is for you.

The Original Waldorf Salad

This classic salad is thought to be the invention of Oscar Tschirky, the maitre d' of the Waldorf Hotel when it opened in New York in 1893.

After the salad became famous and copied in other establishments, it was embellished, most famously with chopped walnuts, and also with grapes. It is sometimes served over salad leaves, and in recent years it has become common for the dressing to be yogurt based - usually beaten with egg yolk, lemon juice, mustard and / or a little light oil.

Wimbledon Juice

Classic early summer ingredients combine to make this Wimbledon celebration juice. So if you can tear yourself away from strawberries and cream with Champagne, you might want to give this one a try!

Got one? Send us your recipe!

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