Apple picking season is fleeting; preserve any hipster-chic orchard trips by pickling your bounty with this simple brine. Then pile them on grilled cheese, add to a pulled pork sandwich, or just eat ‘em straight outta the jar.
Makes 1 pint
1 cup water
1 cup white wine or champagne vinegar
1/2 cup maple syrup, plus additional if desired
1 1/2 teaspoons pickling spice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 largish apples (use your favorite!)
2-3 star anise pods
Combine the water, vinegar, maple syrup, pickling spice, and kosher salt in a small to medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat heat to low and cover and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes. Spoon out a small amount of the brine, allow to cool, and taste. If you want a sweeter pickle add more maple syrup, a tablespoon at a time.
After you reduce the heat on the brine, wash and core your apples. Cut them in half (pole to pole), then cut each half into approximately 1/8th inch slices. Transfer the slices to a quart glass measure or similar sized bowl. Add the star anise pods to the bowl.
Pour the brine through a strainer into the bowl with the apple slices, then cover and allow to come to room temperature. The apples will float — you can use a strainer to keep them submerged.
Once they have hit room temperature, transfer them to a pint glass jar, layering them evenly around the perimeter. Transfer the star anise pods to the space left in the middle of the apples. Fill the jar with brine, and discard left over brine. Cover and refrigerate. They are good for at least a week in the fridge.
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