Friday, October 21, 2011

What to do with apple peels

Especially in the fall when apples are plentiful, we go through a LOT of them.  Apple sauce, Apple Butter, apple everything!  But the problem is that almost all of these recipes require you to peel and core the apples before using them in a recipe.  (Not to mention a 3 year old who all of a sudden thinks the apple skin is icky...)

I'm not one to waste things, even seemingly useless bits like skins and cores.  So I got to thinking... what could you do with these?  My solution?

Apple water.

Yes, it's not quite a juice, but more of an apple flavored water, and the before mentioned 3 year old LOVES it.  And much healthier than normal juice!

And did I mention, it is crazy easy?  I usually do this right after I've finished chopping a whole bunch of apples for a recipe (like this one), but you can also stick apple peels and bits in the freezer, if you're doing one apple at a time.  Then when you've accumulated enough apple peels to your liking, you can use them!

All you do is, stick the apple skins, cores, and seeds into a big pot of water.  Make sure the water covers all your peelings. I use a big stock pot for these, if I have a lot of apples.

Cover the pot with a lid and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, and simmer for about 20-30 minutes.  I usually taste the liquid after about 20 minutes and judge from there.  If you want a stronger flavor, keep it cooking longer.  I don't recommend going past about 30 minutes though, because it can get bitter.

Mind you, this is with Granny Smith apples.  If you use a sweeter apple, instead of a tart one, this might not be the cause.  Just use your tastebuds to determine it!  Also, if you use a red type of apple skin, the 'water' will end up the most beautiful pink color.

After the water has the taste strength you like, strain out the apple peels.  (Make sure you do this over another large pot to collect the water.)

Your apple peels with be all discolored and sad looking now, like the picture below.  You can throw them away, or compost them now.

After using your colander to strain the big chunks, strain again using a cheese cloth, or flour sack.  This gets all the little bitty seed bits out.

Now I return the water to the stove.  When using Granny Smith apples, I find that you DO need to add a little sweetener to cut the tartness back a bit.  I like to use a tablespoon or two of honey, but you could use sugar, or a sweetener, or whatever you like!  (Or none at all, if you so choose.)  Using honey, I keep it on the stove and stir for a few minutes, just so the honey dissapates in the water evenly.  

Then I just pop it into a plastic container and keep it in the fridge!  If I have more than I need, I put it in the freezer and just use it when I need it!

This is great for an alternative to sugary juices for kids, but it also makes a really yummy hot tea.  (Especially if you use red apples and then have a lovely pink brew!)

Another use for apple peels?  Freeze them and stick a few in simmering oatmeal in the morning for added apple flavor!

I'd love to hear if you try this!  :)

PS I'll post my "Crap I like" later today/ this evening!


Maegan said...

Oh my goodness genius! I am so going to do this! I don't buy juice for my son and the rare times he has had it he's loved it, of course, so I'm going to make this for him. He's going to flip!

Lindsay @ Delighted Momma said...

LOVE this!! I would have never thought of this! I cant wait to try! I will let you know how it goes

Roselie said...

What an innovative idea! I 'll definately be doing this next time I 'll have that many apple peels...

Julie said...

What a cool idea! So smart.

Sarah said...

What a genius idea for apple peels! I will definitely try this out, I want to make some apple crumble soon for autumn and this is a perfect idea for what to do with the peelings!


PuppyLovePrincess said...

yum... what a great idea!

when i was little, i used to refuse to eat apple skin, until my mom started peeling it off for me, putting it to the side on a plate and calling it "lizard skin." she insisted it was lizard skin. of course it was so gross... i absolutely had to eat it! it got to the point where i was even freakishly requesting "where's my lizard skin?"