Apples are free around here for the most part because people don’t pick them from their trees. There really isn’t a bad apple in my opinion because you can mix good apples with tart apples and combine four different varieties to make something tasty!
I don’t pick up apples from the ground that I won’t peel unless I know it is clean. Don’t breed animal feces germs in with your edibles. I usually purchase some and then pick some up around town as well. Keep your eye out for apple trees on your regular driving routes.
The easiest thing to make with apples in my opinion is apple sauce. I use the blender to make it.
Apple Butter takes the applesauce a step further. For the apple butter I add sugar to the apple sauce and cook it for more than an hour till it turns dark and thick.
Canning apples to use for pies or just to eat is easy as well. I put cinnamon in mine and use them to make apple pies and cobblers in the winter. I do have an apple peeler corer which are really nice to have and only about $20. It makes the whole process go faster. I find I use the apples all up faster than if I think I want to make a pie but oh I have to peel and cut the apples and I don’t feel like it right now. Maybe I am just lazy.
I used to have a juicer before I broke it juicing too many carrots. I tend to break stuff that is not industrial strength I think because I use it often and demand a lot of it. Since I can’t afford a juicer right now I attempted to make apple juice from the apples without one. I had mixed results with this and had to add storebought cider to it to bring it up to the tasty level because it was too watered down. The basic technique I used was to cut the apples up and then put them in the pot and cover with a small amount of water. Boil them for about 20 minutes and then wait for them to cool. You can then use a potato masher to mash them and then strain the mixture into a carboy or container. The best result was when I used little water and then did this but I added the apple juice left from canning apples and some store bought apples as well. We drank one gallon of it and then I made 2 gallons of brandy and 1 gallon of hard apple cider.
I also picked crab apples which I will do a separate post on using.