Writing this blog has forced me to figure out how to use up everything.
In the old days, had I spied ugly apples at the grocery store—I rarely shopped at the farmers’ market—I likely wouldn’t have bought them. “Ewww, they have blemishes!” Not that the store would have provided the option. Only within the last few years have a limited number of grocery stores here in the US embraced the ugly fruit and vegetable trend.
Had I had fruit on hand beyond its prime, I may have composted it. My fruit peels and scraps definitely wound up atop the compost heap.
Had I needed—more likely, wanted—a new glass pie plate for making this crumble, I would have headed to the mall to buy it. I wouldn’t have opted for a secondhand dish.
How times have changed! How much happier I am!
Food that could have gone to waste instead becomes dessert
For the fruit crumble in this post:
- I bought organic, not-so-pretty apples at the farmers’ market for $1.50/pound. Their “perfect” counterparts cost $3.50/pound.
- After I cut up the apples, I tossed them in lemon juice that I had previously frozen. Before a trip earlier this month, I had several lemons on hand that would have gone south while I traveled north for 10 days. So I squeezed those and froze the juice. I was so happy to have lemon juice on hand this week as I had no lemons and needed juice for a couple of recipes.
- The almond pulp came from homemade almond milk. I freeze this to use in baking later. I don’t buy almond milk because it is always packaged in Tetra Paks, which can’t be recycled where I live and even they could be, recycling will not solve our garbage crisis. Not producing garbage will.
- After I made the crumble, I used the peels and cores to start a new batch of scrap vinegar. I love this stuff! (Find the recipe here.) I use it for cooking and cleaning and haven’t bought vinegar in about five years. You don’t need to peel the apples to make this crumble but my daughter won’t eat it with the skins on. So into the scrap vinegar they go. I choose my battles.
I baked this crumble in a glass pie dish a friend gave me before she moved back to Canada this summer. It’s a deep dish, so it doubles as a mixing bowl. I tossed my apples and lemon juice it it to avoid dirtying an additional dish. When I cook, I use as few dishes as possible.
I’ve been baking this same basic crumble recipe for years, adjusting it to what I have on hand. I’ve made it with peaches, with berries, with peaches and strawberries, with rhubarb, with apples and rhubarb, with apples and berries and rhubarb… For this post, I chose Gravenstein apples—the only apple variety currently available at the farmers’ market, just now entering apple season. Crisp, sweet and tart, Gravenstein apples taste delicious in crumbles and pies. I have more apples on hand and some quince so I think I’ll try that combo next.
If you don’t have almond pulp, skip it or add almond flour if you have any. It renders a slightly crunchy texture. The topping also tastes delicious with a handful of roughly chopped pecans tossed in. However I make this, my kids and I always gobble it up.
Unfortunately the kids descended upon the crumble before I could get a good shot of it intact. Oh well. At least it’s an authentic pic.
- 8 medium apples, peeled (if desired) and sliced
- juice of one lemon
- 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup leftover almond pulp from making almond milk
- 1/4 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Toss the apples in lemon juice, arrange in a 9-inch glass pie dish or square baking dish and sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg.
- Combine the flour, almond pulp if using, oats and brown sugar in a small bowl. Add coconut oil and use a fork to work it evenly into the dry mixture until the topping looks crumbly. Sprinkle onto the fruit.
- Bake for about 25 minutes until the topping is golden and the fruit is soft.