When we shared that we were experimenting by fermenting apple slices in water, whey and salt, I was really curious what they would taste like.
It turns out that they taste like apples fermented in whey and salt.
This condiment isn’t for everyone. I am positive we will find a great use for it but the initial flavor is bizarre (which makes it kind of fun). There’s only a hint of the sweetness left to the apples, lots of tart from the whey and certainly a hint of salt. I think I’ll soak some to see how the flavor transforms as well.
There are a few reasons to ferment apples like this:
- To see what will happen.
- To make an interesting condiment or ingredient. I’m thinking that these could go very well as part of a marinade or put into a hot and sour soup or perhaps some roasted squash.
- The process adds healthy bacteria and enzymes to apples and keeps them preserved without killing them (like a sauce laden with sugar would).
- Apparently (untested though believable), it makes apples more accessible to those on sugar-reduced diets (like diabetics) as the fermentation consumes the sugar. This makes sense based on all I’ve read but I’ve never tested it.
We did two batches of 2 cups (1 pint) each – one with the skins on and one with them off. how they looked this morning (the ones with the skins are still on the left):
The ones with the skins went soft, a little slimier and browned. The ones without the skins stayed white and are remarkably crisp. Skins-off is the way to go!
Here’s what you need:
- 2 cups of peeled apples shaved into slices (I use a mandoline and core them with a small knife)
- 2 tablespoons of whey (you can easily create your own by straining yogurt like this)
- 1 tablespoon of salt
- Non-chlorinated water (if your tap water is chlorinated, let it sit in a wide bowl on your counter for about an hour)
- Toss the salt with the apples in a large bowl.
- Pack a clean mason jar with the apples. Use large slices last and wedge them in the thin opening to stop them from floating. We stop fruit and veg from floating all the time like this and call it seatbelting.
- Add the whey.
- Top with water, tapping to remove air bubbles.
- Place in a warm spot for 3 days. I like to crack the seal slightly each day but an airlock is fine (in fact, one of these mason jar airlocks would work great and would eliminate the threat of too much pressure building up). When I opened one jar the pressure was so high that I got sprayed with the contents.
- Move to a shady or dark part of the house (room temperature is fine) and let it sit for 1-3 weeks, tasting as often as you would like.
- To slow (and almost stop) the fermenting, place the jar in the fridge.