I'm a fan of pickled fruit. It's a great tart accompaniment to rich foods. I used maple syrup instead of sugar to add a little extra flavor punch. I tried making this first with cider vinegar, but the vinegar flavor overpowered the mix. The apple slices will fade with time, so feel free to try a redder skinned apple. This particular pickle would be lovely alongside a serving of unctuous pork, or even on a pulled pork sandwich. —hardlikearmour
Test Kitchen Notes
WHO: Hardlikearmour is a fierce home cook and veterinarian living in Portland, Oregon.
WHAT: Your new autumn condiment, garnish, sandwich-topper, or snack.
HOW: Make a spiced, maple-sweetened brine, then pour over sliced apples. Refrigerate.
WHY WE LOVE IT: We love how simple hardlikearmour's recipe is -- we'll find ourselves turning to it whenever we have a bunch of apples on our hands. The pickles go perfectly with the rich, fatty foods we crave in the autumn -- and they'd be great on a holiday cheese board, too. —cheesypennies
1 cup water
1 cup white wine or champagne vinegar
1/2 cup maple syrup, plus additional if desired (grade B if you can find it)
Combine the water, vinegar, maple syrup, pickling spice, and kosher salt in a small to medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat heat to low and cover and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes. Spoon out a small amount of the brine, allow to cool, and taste. If you want a sweeter pickle add more maple syrup, a tablespoon at a time.
After you reduce the heat on the brine, wash and core your apples. No need to peel them -- but if you do, it works too! Cut them in half (pole to pole), then cut each half into approximately 1/8th inch slices. Transfer the slices to a quart glass measure or similar sized bowl. Add the star anise pods to the bowl.
Pour the brine through a strainer into the bowl with the apple slices, then cover and allow to come to room temperature. The apples will float, so I used my strainer to keep them submerged by covering the strainer and glass measure tightly with plastic wrap (see photo).
Once they have hit room temperature, transfer them to a pint glass jar, layering them evenly around the perimeter. Transfer the star anise pods to the space left in the middle of the apples. Fill the jar with brine, and discard left over brine. Cover and refrigerate. They are good for at least a week in the fridge.
I am an amateur baker and cake decorator. I enjoy cooking, as well as eating and feeding others. I live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with my husband and our menagerie. I enjoy outdoor activities including hiking, mushroom hunting, tide pooling, beach combing, and snowboarding.