Why do apples become mealy?
The unpleasant sandy texture, or mealiness, occurs when an apple loses some of its moisture after a long time in storage or due to improper storage conditions. Sweeter apple varieties, such as Red Delicious, McIntosh, and Gala apples tend to become mealy faster, so it’s better to avoid these apple varieties if you favor a juicy and crisp apple.
Color is another good indicator of a freshly-picked apple. “You want to catch the apple during that light-green or just-yellow stage, before the color turns to a strong yellow,” said Paul Rasch, an orchard owner to The Buffalo News.
Technically, there’s nothing wrong with a mealy apple, it’s just a bit too ripe, and so, it loses some of its crisp and plump texture. Unless you see other signs of spoilage like mold or brown spots, mealy apples are absolutely safe to eat. That said, they may not be the tastiest treat on their own, so you’re better off cooking them to get the tastiest results. Here are a few yummy ideas:
1. Turn them into a quick breakfast
This is possibly the easiest and quickest way to use up mealy apples. Peel and chop the apple into small cubes, and then heat it up in the microwave until turns soft and juicy. The high temperature will soften the cell walls of the apple and make them release the juices within, and you’ll be getting a texture that’s similar to applesauce, but maybe a bit chunkier. You can top the applesauce with some granola, cinnamon, or plain yogurt, and you have a delicious and healthy breakfast!
2. Use them in baked goods
Mealy apples are the perfect candidates for baked goods. While we don’t recommend using them for apple pie, overripe apples work as a great addition to pancakes or muffins. Precook them with a splash of lemon juice and a dash of cinnamon, and use them in your favorite dessert for added sweetness. If you don’t have a go-to muffin or pancake recipe, check out these:
- These Oatmeal Muffins Are Divine
- Healthy Carrot and Nut Muffin Recipe
- How to Make Scrumptious Chocolate Banana Pancakes.
3. Make homemade applesauce
Homemade applesauce doesn’t use any additives or colorants, so you know it’s better than the store-bought stuff. This is especially true when the overripe apples in question would otherwise go into the trash. Follow this simple recipe to make your own applesauce:
5 large apples
½ cup water
¼ cup brown sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
¼ tsp salt
Cinnamon to taste.
1. Peel and remove the core from the apples.
2. Combine the apples with the remaining ingredients in a large pan and bring to a boil.
3. Once the mixture starts boiling, reduce to a simmer and cover with a lid. Let the mixture simmer until soft and not too watery - around 30 minutes.
4. If you prefer smooth applesauce, use a blender or food processor to puree the applesauce. You can also mash the applesauce with a fork for a chunkier texture.
This recipe makes about 4 cups of applesauce.
4. Make Dried Apples
Dried apples are a pretty yummy to-go snack, but you can also add them to hot teas, use them in recipes, or even decorate your home with dried apples. For example, you can combine dried apples with spices like cinnamon, star anise, or clove, and voila, you have natural fall-inspired potpourri. Display the potpourri in an open bowl - so that the pleasant smell spreads through the entire room.
To make dried apples without a dehydrator, simply slice the apples as thinly as you can, and spread them on a lined baking sheet so that there’s just one layer of apples on the sheet. Set your oven to the lowest temperature possible (usually around 140°F or 60°C), and let the apples bake in the oven until completely dry and with crispy and curled edges (this will take around 2 hours). Let the apples cool completely before storing them in an airtight container.
5. Baked Apples
Baked apples are the tastiest little treat for the cold months! You can stuff whole apples with whatever you have at home: nuts, dried fruit, brown sugar, orange zest, honey, oatmeal, Nutella, or maple syrup. Here’s a great basic recipe you can try:
4 large apples
1 cup hot water
¼ cup oatmeal
¼ cup walnuts
¼ cup brown sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 tbsp butter - divided into 4 pieces.
1. Preheat the oven at 375°F (190°C).
2. Core the apples, creating a hole that’s around ¾ of an inch wide.
3. In a medium bowl, combine oatmeal, walnuts, sugar, and spices and stir until combined.
4. Fill the apples with the filling and place them in a baking dish, topping each apple with a piece of butter.
5. Pour the water at the bottom of the baking dish and top the dish with aluminum foil. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
6. Uncover the baking dish and continue baking for another 30 minutes, or until the apples are soft and the butter and sugar have completely melted.
7. Remove from the oven and serve warm with a scoop of ice cream on the side.
Share these recipes with those who love apples!