Thursday, October 26, 2017

Pickled Apples

Pickled Apples ... what in the world? Pickled apples are so good in a variety of ways; make a batch for your next cheese tray or load up onto salads or sandwiches/burgers with sharp Gorgonzola or any other sharp cheese, such as a good cheddar.

Pickled apples also add a nice acidic component and make a great accompaniment to grilled or roasted pork.

While I could have used any number of spices in the brine, I chose to use cardamom this time for it's unique qualities.

But why use Cardamom? In the culinary arts, cardamom is a spice made from the seed pods of various plants in the ginger family. Cardamom has a strong, pungent flavor and aroma, with hints of lemon, mint, and smoke.

Cardamom pods contain a number of seeds, but the entire cardamom pod can be used whole or ground. There are two main types of cardamom: black cardamom and green cardamom.

Cardamom is used mainly in Indian cooking as well as Middle Eastern cuisine.

In Indian recipes, whole cardamom pods are used in preparing basmati rice and various curries. In Middle Eastern recipes, ground cardamom is used in preparing certain desserts.

Interestingly enough, one of the countries that consumes the most cardamom is Sweden, where cardamom is employed to season everything from baked goods to hamburgers and meat loaves.

Like the Swedes (and other Scandinavians, such as the Finns and Norweigians), you can use cardamom in your apple pie recipes. Consider the fact that cardamom is frequently combined with spices such as cinnamon and cloves (again, think curries and basmati rice).

Thus, it represents merely a short culinary leap to say that cardamom can be used in any of your usual autumn and winter recipes—whether it's spice cakes, puddings, casseroles and pear or apple tarts. (Source: The Spruce)

2 honeycrisp apples, cored and sliced into 1/4" thick slices (or any hard, crunchy apple)
1 cup vinegar
1 cup sugar
1 tsp cardamom
1 tsp canning salt
To each jar add:
6 whole allspice berries
6 whole cloves
1 small red chile pepper (optional - may omit)

In a small saucepan, add the vinegar, sugar, cardamom and salt. Bring to a boil, dissolving sugar, and remove from heat. Let sit while you are preparing apples.

Remove core from apples and slice into 1/4" thick slices, cutting each slice in half. Add 6 whole allspice berries and 6 whole cloves to each 8 oz canning jar, and top with apple slices. Top each jar with one small red chile pepper and pour brine over all leaving 1/4" head-space.

Process prepared jars in steam canner or boiling water bath 10 minutes. Remove jars and allow to sit on a kitchen towel on your counter-top 24 hours undisturbed. Jars are sealed when button in middle of lid is fully depressed and can't be moved up or down.

Store in pantry up to one year; open jars need to be refrigerated.

Cook's note - Recipe is easily doubled. Allow to sit 3-4 weeks for flavors to develop.



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