How to cook apples

July 4, 2024
by HelloFresh Tips & tricks

    Apples can be prepared in numerous ways, each bringing delightful results. Popular cooking methods include stewing, boiling, and roasting apples. Explore these apple cooking methods, discover the best apple varieties suited for cooking, and delve into popular apple recipes to experiment with in your own kitchen.

    How to stew apples

    Stewed apples, also known as apple compote, offer a versatile dish that can be served both hot or cold. For this recipe, you’ll need the following: 

    • 3 tart apples, peeled, cored and chopped
    • 2-4 tbsp caster sugar (using more or less depending on the sweetness of the apples) 
    • Splash of lemon juice 
    • 1 tspn of cinnamon

    Below is a simple, step-by-step guide to stewing apples:

    • Put the apples, sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon in a small pan with a splash of water. 
    • Put the lid on the pan and cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes, or until the apples are tender when pierced.

    Stewing apples without sugar

    Apples can be stewed without sugar, though tart apples still need a touch of sweetening. This can be done using natural sweeteners such as monk fruit, or granulated stevia, in place of sugar.

    How to boil apples

    First, you’ll need: five apples, three tablespoons of honey, one teaspoon of cinnamon powder and a splash of water. 

    • Chop the apples into small pieces and place them into a pan of boiling water. Whether you choose to peel or keep the skin on for added texture is up to you.
    • Boil the apples over a medium heat until they start to soften. This should take no longer than 15 minutes. 
    • Once the apple pieces are soft enough to pierce with a knife, drain the pot, then mix in the honey and cinnamon powder. 
    • Serve warm, or leave to cool in the fridge.

    How to oven-roast apples

    Oven-roasting apples gives the fruit a distinctive taste and texture, perfect for warming crumbles and wholesome desserts. For this roast apple recipe, you’ll need six apples (cored and cut into chunky slices), ¼ cup of sugar and ⅛ teaspoon of powdered cinnamon.

    • Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C for fan assisted).
    • Add sugar and cinnamon in a medium bowl, then add the apple slices, tossing to coat. 
    • Spread the apples in a single layer on a baking tray. 
    • Bake, tossing halfway through, until tender but firm. This should be after approximately 30 minutes, depending on apple choice and the size of apple slices.

    All cooking appliances vary. These are guidelines only. Ensure the food is piping hot before serving. Do not reheat.

    Types of apples for cooking

    You can use almost any variety in your favourite pies, tarts, and cakes, but some varieties do crunch, slice and taste better in certain recipes. The choice of apples depends on the dish you’re preparing, as specific flavours complement particular recipes. Here’s a simple guide to follow for the tastiest results:

    • Granny Smith apples – Firm and sour, Granny Smith apples are popularly used in apple pies. Perfect for this dish, they maintain their shape even when exposed to high heat.
    • Honeycrisp apples – Similarly to Granny Smith, Honeycrisp apples hold their shape and don’t go mushy. Crisp by name, crisp by nature. They are excellent for salads, as well as making applesauce and for baking. 
    • Bramley apples – The Bramley apple is recognised as the best apple for cooking. The flesh is white, juicy and acidic and when boiled it turns into a frothy pulp, perfect for savoury stir frys or apple pies.
    • Fuji apples – Developed in Japan in the 1930s, Fuji apples are one of the crispiest, juiciest and sweetest apples you can find; making them an ideal choice for muffins and tarts.
    • Empire apples – This sweet, but tart, variety of apple is great for making cider, baking into pies and applesauce.
    • Gala apples – The mellow-flavoured Gala apple is perfect in a salad or a savoury dish. HelloFresh’s Recipe Development Manager, Mimi Morley, suggests this is because the creamy flesh of Gala apples doesn’t brown quickly after cutting.

    Can you freeze apples?

    The good news is that any variety of apple can be frozen. You don’t need to cook apples before freezing, but you can blanch them to prevent browning. To do this, scald apples in boiling water, remove, then plunge into iced water.

    Apples will keep well frozen for several months, although, it’s worth remembering that frozen apples are best used in recipes, rather than eating raw, as freezing changes their texture.

    You can freeze cooked apples too, which will be a welcome pre-cooked ingredient when it comes to preparing your next apple crumble or making applesauce. To do this, after stewing, allow your apples to cool completely. Portion into individual freezer bags or small containers and pop in the freezer.

    When are apples in season in the UK?

    If you’re lucky enough to have access to an apple tree, you’re going to want to harvest them at the perfect time for optimum ripeness.

    The perfect apple picking time depends slightly on variety. Generally, peak season for homegrown fruit in domestic gardens is at the very end of summer, moving into autumn. Late September and throughout October is the key apple picking time in Britain, when growers and gardeners harvest their fruits.

    Popular apple recipes 

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    All food products vary. The instructions printed on the food packaging always supersedes those printed in this article and must always be followed.
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