These fermented apples are sweet and slightly tangy. They are probiotics rich and the perfect way to sneak probiotics into smoothies or apple pie.
Homemade lacto fermented apples are an easy way to preserve apples for several months. Moreover, they are ready to go in two days!
Ever since I started with fermentation, I cannot get enough. I found it fascinating to transform ordinary ingredients into delicious and healthy foods. There’s just something magical about how microbes can work wonders on vegetables, fruits, dairy, and grains. Fermentation is a natural and traditional way of preserving and enhancing foods’ flavors, textures, and nutritional values. Each fermentation project has its own character and benefits, from fermenting bananas, cauliflower, garlic honey fermentation to yogurt, wine or cider. I love experimenting with different combinations of ingredients and techniques and sharing my creations with others.
What are Fermented Apples?
Fermented apples are apples that have undergone a process of fermentation, where microorganisms such as yeast and bacteria convert the natural sugars in the apples into alcohol and organic acids. This fermentation process preserves fruits, increases nutritional value, and adds a specific taste to fermented apples.
What do fermented apples taste like?
The time of fermentation can significantly affect the taste of fermented food. A longer fermentation time results in higher alcohol content and a more complex flavor profile with notes of fruit, spice, and other flavors. A shorter fermentation time, on the other hand, results in a mild effervescence and a slightly tangy flavor without the development of any alcohol.
These fermented apples have a tangy, sweet, and sour taste with a slightly alcoholic flavor due to the presence of natural yeasts that convert the sugars in the apples into alcohol and other compounds.
Easy Fermented apple recipe Ingredients
Apples contain natural sugars that yeast can ferment to produce alcohol and create flavorful apples. I usually use apples that are not very tasty and we don’t like to eat them fresh. However, the fermentation turns them into a delicious treat.
Summer apples are not the best for fermentation and long-term storage as they are too soft. Instead, opt for denser fall or winter apples, which have a longer shelf life and are ideal for fermenting. These apples yield the best results for fermented apples.
Adding lemon juice can help lower the pH of the mixture, creating an environment that is more favorable to the growth of beneficial bacteria and preventing the growth of harmful bacteria. In addition, it helps the apples keep their color, especially at the beginning of the process.
Cinnamon imparts a warm, spicy flavor to the mixture and has antimicrobial properties that may help prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. You can use a cinnamon stick or ground cinnamon. However, mix the ground cinnamon with the brine rather than add it to the apple jar.
Adding a small amount of table salt helps to create a favorable environment for the growth of beneficial bacteria, which helps to preserve the apples.
Ferment Starter (optional)
Using one tablespoon of starter culture or yeast to kickstart the fermentation process helps ensure that the right types of microorganisms are in your mixture. You can also use brine from a previous ferment, such as sauerkraut juice, kombucha, water kefir, whey, and ginger bugs. All make great starter cultures for fermentation. However, it’s possible to ferment apples without culture by relying on the sugar and salt content in the mixture. This method may take longer, requiring an additional 1-3 days, and may not be as consistent as a starter culture.
I like to add clove to the mixture for its warm, spicy, and slightly sweet flavor. Cloves also have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, which help to promote the growth of beneficial bacteria and reduce inflammation in the gut.
How to Make Lacto-Fermented Apples
First step – Prepare the brine.
To make the brine combine salt, filtered water, and lemon juice in a medium size bowl. If you use a starter culture, add it to the mixture at this stage. Whisk all the ingredients well and set aside.
Second step- Preparing apples.
Chop four medium apples to make 3 cups of chopped apple chunks. Transfer them to a clean, wide-mouth gallon jar or a fermentation crock. Add cinnamon stick and clove.
Third step – Pour in the brine.
Pour the brine into the jar or a crock. Add enough filtered water to the jar to keep apples below the brine, leaving about an inch of space at the top. Remove all air bubbles and insert a disc to help all the contents stay completely submerged in the brine, as exposure to air can cause spoilage. You can also use glass weights that are easy to wash.
Fourth step – Let the fermentation begin.
Seal the jar with an airlock system or screw a lid on loosely, allowing CO2 to escape, or use an airlock. Cover the vessel with a clean cloth or coffee filter, and secure it with a rubber band or string. Allow the apples to ferment for 3-5 days at room temperature, away from direct sunlight. (There’s a chance for these to overflow a little, so set fermenting jars in a pan to catch drips.) Once your apples have fermented to your liking, remove the weight and the cinnamon stick and transfer the fermented apples and brine to a canning jar. Add an airtight lid and keep refrigerated.
Storing Fermented Cinnamon Apples
Cap the jar with an airtight lid and store it in the fridge. The apples will keep fermenting and develop flavor over time. Enjoy as a probiotic-rich snack or as a flavorful addition to salads, sandwiches, and other dishes!
What is the shelf life of fermented apples?
Keep the apples in the refrigerator in an airtight container. In that case, they can typically last for several weeks to several months, The apples may continue to ferment and develop flavor over time, so their taste and texture may change as they age.
Fruit Fermentation Process Tips
Use fresh, high-quality fruit. Choose fresh, ripe fruit free from mold or soft spots. I opt for organic.
To prevent the growth of mold or harmful bacteria:
- Keep the fruit submerged under the brine.
- Add a fermentation weight to keep the fruit from floating to the surface.
- Check on your fermenting fruit regularly. If you notice any signs of mold, off smells, or other issues, you may need to discard the batch and start over.
- If you’re not using a pickle pipe or airlock cover, burb the jar twice a day. By opening the lid, you allow the unwanted gases to escape.
Fruits ferment very quickly compared to vegetables because they have higher sugar content. So watch closely for any changes like bubbles forming, scent or appearance.
Use non-chlorinated water. Chlorine can inhibit the growth of lactic acid bacteria. Alternatively, use spring water from the store or distilled water.
How to Use Fermented Apples
Now we know how to make Fermented Cinnamon Apples, let’s look at how we can use them.
Sauces and Dressings.
Fermented apples can be blended into a sauce or dressing for added flavor and nutrition. For example, you could make a fermented apple vinaigrette or use fermented apples in a barbecue sauce.
Use fermented apples in baking as a natural sweetener and flavor enhancer. Try adding them to weight watchers muffins, bread, and cakes like Apple Dapple Cake, Ninja Foodi apple crumble or apple streusel coffee cake.
Smoothies and Juices:
Blend them into smoothies and juices for added probiotics and flavor. You could also add fermented apple juice to a kombucha or other fermented drink for an extra boost.
Serve them as a side dish to complement a meal. They pair well with pork, poultry, and roasted vegetables.
Eat them or pair them with cheese and crackers for a delicious and nutritious snack.
Can apples ferment into alcohol?
Apples contain natural sugars that convert into alcohol through a process called alcoholic fermentation. However, these fermented apples contain very little alcohol. To achieve a higher alcohol content, the apples would need to ferment for longer, usually at least a month or longer.
Do apples ferment in the fridge?
Apples can still undergo fermentation in the fridge, but the cooler temperature will significantly slow the fermentation process. This is because colder temperatures slow down the activity of yeast and other microorganisms that are responsible for the fermentation process.