Late summer means it’s time for apples in warm autumn colours. Crisp and clean tasting, apples can also turn tender and juicy when baked, offering plentiful recipe options for this time of year. This forbidden fruit is actually a lot less daring than Adam and Eve would have it – apples have become symbols of wholesomeness and health.
Varieties such as red delicious and granny smith are particularly high in antioxidants, and red apples have been shown to boost your immune system, especially when you’re stressed out.
Apples are also full of a fibre called pectin, which has huge health benefits that include regulating blood sugar, aiding digestion and reducing cholesterol. Whether you like the crunch of a fresh apple or the sweet comfort of a baked one, one a day should keep the doctor away.
Try these ideas:
• Make a quick apple relish that’s perfect for roast pork by placing 2 peeled, cored and chopped granny smith apples in a saucepan along with 2 tablespoons brown sugar and 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar. Cook over a medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes until the sugar has dissolved, then reduce the heat and simmer for a further 7 minutes or until the apples are tender. Experiment by adding spices like star anise or cinnamon.
• Baked apples are also a good accompaniment to sweet and sticky roasted pork belly.
• The apple in these pork and apple burgers adds subtle flavour and sweetness.
• Yet again, pork and apple make a winning combination in these apple-stuffed pork chops.
• If it’s feeling chilly, make some hearty beetroot, horseradish and apple soup.
• Apple purée or grated apple adds a lovely tartness to regular crumpets and pancakes. Simply stir it in with the batter before frying.
• Give extra zing to baked sweet potatoes by layering apple purée with the par-boiled vegetables before baking.
• Make apple and leek gravy to serve with pork sausages by frying thinly sliced leek, strips of bacon and a bit of flour. Add some apple juice, wholegrain mustard and wedges of apple. Cook until the apple starts to disintegrate and the gravy thickens. Season to taste and serve with mash and the hot sausages.
• Lightly fried apples make a great addition to salads, especially when combined with rocket, watercress, crispy pancetta and walnuts. Sprinkle with parmesan shavings and a dressing of olive oil, apple cider vinegar and sugar.
• Make free-form strawberry and apple tarts by topping rounds of short-crust pastry (partially thawed) with a mixture of apple purée, caster sugar, almond flour, and thinly sliced, hulled strawberries. Fold the pastry to contain the filling and bake for 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden. Serve with dollops of cream. Also try this Afri-French version of almond and apple pie.
• Apple adds a lovely summer spark to salads and sandwiches. Try this easy chicken sandwich with spinach and apple salad.
• Have some leftover apple purée and sorbet? Make this delectable fruity sparkling cocktail, dubbed apples and pearls.