Sane people plan their fall vacations around reasonable temperatures and peak leaf color. I, the unconventional sort of person that I am, am not one of those people.
No folks. Late October and I'm spending my paid time off down in the south eastern corner of the state donning long underwear and on occasion my -20ºF rated Will Steiger Mucklus. Wind. Freezing drizzle...I don't know which is more, err should we say, invigorating? What would posses a person to enjoy such bleak and dismal conditions? What could possibly evoke woolen undergarments considerations? A little known late season cider apple known as Golden Russet that is what.
Discovered around the late 1800s Golden Russet is not a looker if you like your apples polished to a crimson sheen. A mottled array of dusty golds, bronzes and wispy strokes of orange these late October apples are quite the opposite. Oh, and watery juice? No room for that in these dense little nuggets. Every square inch is packed to the skin with a sweet yet carefully balanced flavor profile of honey, almonds, vanilla and zesty citrus.
The story behind my love affair with the Golden Russet begins five years ago down in La Crescent Minnesota. On a tour of my friends Jackie and Harry Hoch's certified organic farm Hoch Orchards and Gardens, I was brought to a planting block of Golden Russet trees. Immediately my eyes were transfixed on dazzling golden pendants of fruit. One bite and wow. Yes folks that dusty little pome won over my heart right then and there. Every year since, Jackie and Harry expect me late October and every year I pack on the layers, make the quest and conquer my disdain for cold. The sacrifices we make for love! And...good fruit!
So this year, upon returning from my trip to the Hochs, my stash of russets snuggled carefully in my trunk, I painstakingly pondered what type of concoction to create. I could make non alchoholic cider aka apple juice...ah, already did that. Dehydrate them? Oops, did that too. Apple sauce? Pie filling? Oh bother. Have I exhausted all the available routes to showcase apples?
Then I remembered seeing an article discussing pear peel powder. Why not apple peel powder? I googled it and found one person who had done it and several companies that were actually selling it. And for a ridiculous price I might add!
Needless to say I threw caution to the wind and gave er' a go. And a go they were! Can I say damn and not get in trouble for it? Damn people. Tinkerbelle would be jealous of this stuff. An antioxidant sugar substitute that's uber healthy and actually tastes good!! Pixie Dust Gold if you want my opinion.
Alright enough of my gloating and blabbing about Golden Russets. Perhaps they won't elicit a response quite like breaking out the ol' 80s snowmobile suit for late season apple picking. They are however worth putting in a good word at your grocer's produce department. Encourage them to start carrying these forgotten heritage varieties and even more so supporting the great people like the Hoch's who grow them.
Golden Russet Apple Peel Powder
Makes approximately 1 - 1/2 pint jar
- 10-12 Golden Russet apples
1. Rinse your apples and peel them using an apple corer/peeler. No peeler, sliver off the skins with a knife. Reserve the peeled apple for another use. I just cut mine up and dehydrated it along with the apple peels.
2. Take your apple peels and evenly distribute them onto dehydrator trays. Don’t clump them or they won’t dry.
3. Set your dehydrator for fruit mode at about 135ºF. Dehydrate for 12-14 hours until crunchy.
4. Remove your peels and allow them to cool. Then throw them in the food processor and process until a fine powder forms.
5. Viola! You now have apple peel powder! Top on cakes and cookies, sprinkle on salads, good on any meal that need a little pick me up of sugar. Enjoy!