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.
2. Judy Rodgers’ Roasted Applesauce (and Savory Apple Charlottes)
Chef Judy Rogers’s method for making applesauce is as simple as roasting the fruit in a hot oven with salt, sugar, butter, and vinegar. Once done, she’ll urge you to go a step farther and use the sauce as a filling in a bread-lined ramekin dessert called a charlotte.
3. Pork Brined in Rum and Cider with Apples
There exist many simple culinary equations, and pork + apples = amazing is one of the best. Here, pork shoulder becomes fork-tender after a long braise, and apples — sautéed with onion, rosemary, rum, and cider — provide a sweet counterpoint.
4. Glazed Brussels Sprouts and Apples in Browned Butter and Cream
The magic ingredient here is browned butter, which tastes great with Brussels sprouts. Apples help balance the richness of the cream and bacon and provide a textural contrast.
5. Butternut Squash and Cider Soup
This soup is a great way to showcase fall flavors, and it’s simple enough to add to your weeknight dinner rotation.
Yes, it’s actually pronounced like that. But after you taste it, you won’t mind.
7. Crispy Delicata Rings with Currant, Fennel & Apple Relish
The apple-flecked relish recipe you’ll find here is a great way to keep sweeter dishes (like this squash) in line.
This dish is apple pie’s virtuous cousin — it’s also easier and and faster. You’ll use it countless times, and you’ll likely be asked for the recipe.
9. Not-Too-Virtuous Salad with Caramelized Apple Vinaigrette
The best part of this salad is its unexpected dressing, which is balanced by tart apples, fennel, and celery root.
Food52 is a community for people who love food and cooking. Follow them at Food52.com and on Twitter @Food52.