How to Use Apple Peels and Cores
Apple cores do not exist. It’s the way that we eat apples that gives us the impression that the fruit’s center is inedible. We chomp our way to the middle, concentrating all of the seeds and their surrounding parchment-like endocarp into a seed-filled column. Eat your apple pole to pole, instead of equatorially, and you will hardly notice the seeds. Plus, you will enjoy 30% more apple — the average volume of fruit that is pitched as the core.
Some eaters fear that the seeds are poisonous and they are not entirely wrong. Apple seeds, like apricot and cherry pits, contain amygdalin, a naturally occurring compound. When apple seeds are crushed or chewed, the amygdalin is released into the body where it is converted into cyanide, a potentially toxic chemical. The amount of cyanide in apple seeds, however, is extremely low and does not present any health threat when consumed in moderation.
The average volume of an apple left in the apple core.
In recipes, such as applesauce, the peels and sometimes the seeds are cooked with the fruit and then strained or pressed out later. In other recipes, such as apple pie, the fruit is often peeled and the seeds removed and only the tender part goes in the pan. In cases such as these, you can be left with a mounding pile of peels and seeds. It’s fine to toss them in the compost. But there’s so much more you can do with them.
Homemade Apple Pectin
If you would like to make your own jams, jellies and preserves, you might like to experiment with making your own pectin, a key ingredient. Homemade pectin, made from simmering the cores and peels, adds a silky, luxurious texture to homemade preserves that boxed pectin cannot imitate.
Roasted Apple Peels
Apple peels flavored with warm spices and crisped in the oven make a tasty, wholesome snack. They’re also a fun, fall-filled garnish for salads.
Powdered Apple Peels
Whiz the desiccated peels in a clean spice grinder to create dried apple powder. Use it to flavor baked goods, stir into mashed sweet potatoes or sprinkle on your morning oatmeal.
Apple Peel Tea
Apple peels, steeped in boiling hot water are a comforting caffeine-free sip to enjoy on a chilly day. You can also boil some peels in water before steeping a tea bag to create an apple flavored tea.
Apple Flavored Water
Adding some fresh fruit to your water bottle to create a subtly infused thirst quencher brings a hit of flavor to your agua. Throw some apple peels into your reusable water bottle for something better than bottled.
Fruit syrups can be a fresh addition on pancakes or waffles or can add a sweet layer to custom cocktails and handmade desserts. Boil peels in water and reduce to intensify the flavor. Strain out the peels and compost them. Add an equal amount of brown sugar and simmer until dissolved. Cool, bottle and refrigerate for up to a month.
Apple Flavored Liquor
Apple flavored liquors can be enjoyed straight or mixed in cocktails. Pack a sterilized jar with peels, pour in liquor to cover the peels and allow to infuse in a cool, dark place for a month, shaking the jar every few days. Strain and enjoy.
Apple Core Juice
Simmer apple cores in water. Cool and strain without pressing. Store juice in refrigerator and enjoy.
This Italian sweet and sour sauce is similar to gastrique, a vinegar-based pan sauce. Try it over grilled chicken.
Recipe: Homemade Apple Vinegar
Any fruit juice will ferment. Bacteria digest the fruit’s sugars, transforming them into alcohol (grapes into wine, for example). Acetic acid-producing bacteria digests the alcohol and turns it into vinegar (wine into red wine vinegar). This recipe operates on the same principle, using only apple trimmings, water, sugar and time to create a pantry staple.
Enough apple trimmings to fill a glass jar ¾ full
Water to cover the trimmings completely
1 tablespoon of water for every cup of water used to cover the trimmings
- Sterilize the jar by submerging it in boiling water for ten minutes. Drain and allow to cool.
- Stuff the trimmings into the jar.
- Add the water and sugar so that the trimmings are completely submerged. Use a weight, if necessary, to keep the fruit completely covered by water.
- Cover with a piece of cheesecloth or coffee filter secured around the neck of the jar with a rubber band to protect from dust and insects.
- Set aside in a dark place for about a month, giving the jar a little swirl every week or so and topping up with sugar water if evaporation necessitates. After several weeks you may notice a gelatinous disc begin to form. This is the “vinegar mother” and is a natural part of the process.
- When the vinegar reaches your desired tartness, strain out the solids and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.