While making this recipe, I had the thought "they're all going to think you're crazy!" running through my head. So whether or not that's true, I hope you'll read on to discover to unique beauty of these Lacto-Fermented Cinnamon Apples.
I began a new series on Fermented Foods last week with the introduction of my absolute favorite sauerkraut recipe with garlic, cumin, and celery salt. And if you haven't read it yet on The Blackboard, I go into even more detail on how and why fermented foods are so great for your GI in this post.
Well, this recipe came about with my brain turning over ways to preserve the apples coming in our CSA. And though I've posted about canning here at Bare Root, I'm definitely still a novice. Not to mention, a little too lazy for water-bath canning. And having begun to lacto-ferment so many different things lately and noticing how well they keep (albeit while taking up valuable fridge space), I just had to give this a try.
The flavors are very fall, while still carrying across the sour fermented taste. Jorge compared them to apples they'd cut up as kids and sprinkle with chile limon seasoning (minus the spicy). Like that stuff you could buy from the ice cream man. If you live in Arizona, you know what I'm talking about.
You'll definitely want to keep a closer eye on this than with the sauerkraut. It can go from sweet and slightly sour to sour and slight sweet in just a day. I'd recommend checking at 3 or 4 days. You'll know if it's getting there by how salty the water still is. When the salty taste dissipates to barely noticeable, you'll find the apples are still pretty sweet with just a tiny bit of sourness.
A slice off the top of the apple works perfect as a weight to keep the slices submerged (like pictured below.) It will just need to be composted or trashed once the apples are ready since it isn't fully submerged during the process. Of course, you could also invest in weight specifically made for fermenting like these ones. But I found the apple slice worked really well and didn't get moldy at all. My house is also kept in the low 70's, which is a factor. If your house is 80F plus, you may want to get some weights since the process will go much faster.
Enjoy these apple slices over a salad or right from the jar as an sweet afternoon snack.
Lacto-Fermented Cinnamon Apples
Yields: 2 quarts
3 medium organic apples (chose apples on the sweeter side like gala or honeycrisp)
2-4 cinnamon sticks, crushed
1 lemon, juice & zest
4 T. sea salt
7-8 c. filtered water
Combine crushed cinnamon (add to desired cinnamony-ness), lemon juice, zest, sea salt, and filtered water in a medium pot. Heat over medium heat until barely simmering and salt is dissolved. Remove from heat and cover to let steep and cool 30 minutes.
Wash apples well with a fruit & veggie wash. Slice the tops off 2 of the apples and reserve for packing the jars (as pictured above). Quarter the apples and slice very thinly (I like to use the blade attachment on my food processor -- saves a TON of time). Pack sliced apples tightly into 2 quart jars, careful not to bruise them as you press down.
Fill the jars with salty water, transferring cinnamon pieces and all. Place a reserved apple top in each other jars to submerge the slices in the liquid. Cover with coffee filters or cheesecloth. Leave at room temperature for 5-7 days, testing around 4 days to gauge how sour it is. The longer it's left at room temperature, the more sour (and less sweet) it will be. The fermented apples will keep for 3-6 months in the refrigerator, as the cold temps will halt the fermentation process right where it's at.