Russian Brined Apples
How long without leaving you recipes with fermented ingredients… Let it be known that it is not because you do not make them, but because they require a process and time to have them ready. This makes the distance between posts a little longer… But they will be arriving! Today I show you how to make Russian brined apples.
If I tell you otherwise, I’m lying. The day I saw them, a feeling of joy and happiness invaded me, immense! That I like to ferment practically everything I see, is a truth you already know, but the fact of fermenting apples at home in the way I will share with you today, I found it truly stunning.
Magic of fermentation.
Many times I think that this method of preserving and treating food should be much more widespread than it is now. It is also true that the place where we live depends, it will be more or less usual. I think that in Spain, nowadays, it is still not very common and there are still people who are surprised when you tell them that you ferment things at home.
The first thing they usually ask you is, and that’s good? Fermented? Let’s see if you’ll get intoxicated! It is not the same to ferment one or several ingredients naturally following a process to leave a cooking pot with food inside in the kitchen and that, due to the hot temperature, ferments. Nothing to do.
It may be that this concept is not well explained, or not well enough, for people to trust and want to consume this type of food. It is no longer just for the fact of conserving them in time (and for a long time), but also for the amount of benefits it brings to our health.
Russian brined apples.
Brined apples or lactofermented are an essential and traditional element of Russian cuisine as well as kvass or rye bread.
I found this recipe on Valeria’s blog «Beets and Bones«, thank you very much for your generosity and for this great recipe. She shares a method to be able to carry out the fermentation of these Russian apples with brine, which is not what was done in the past.
These apples used to be fermented in oak barrels (dubovaya bochka) lined with rye straw. This helps the apples acquire a better flavor and aroma. Afterwards, these barrels were sealed, leaving openings where to pour the brine and add water during fermentation as necessary.
Different recipes of how to make them.
There are many ways to ferment apples in terms of ingredients. Some of them are made with a basic brine, others are added spices, fermented together with the sauerkraut… Here you should feel free to add what you want: cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, coriander… What you prefer. In my case I have followed the same recipe of Valeria using peppermint, honey and rye.
The apple variety that is usually used is Antonovka, a very common type of apple in Russia. It wasn’t the variety I used, I used cider apples collected from an orchard of our friends. Valeria shares that the red apple variety is not good because the result is soft, this did not happen in my case.
The texture is crunchy and has a taste very similar to cider. At least at home is what reminded us all. It seemed that we had left the apples marinating in a soft and refreshing cider, with sweet touches and a wonderful fragrance. Besides appreciating a frizzy or gaseous texture on the palate… I don’t know, something very curious and complicated to describe.
In my case they didn’t turn out to be translucent as Valerie shows, but I have the feeling that the type of apple has a lot of influence on this aspect. I didn’t use yellow apples for a reason… they were too big to fit into the container! On the contrary, the size of these ecological apples of our friends, were perfect.
Why do you use rye sourdough to make apples?
It is a very popular practice in northern Russia that helps the PH fall very quickly, thus preventing the appearance of unpleasant flavors.
Fermented red rye malt, called «Solod» in Russian, is another ingredient that is often added to salted apples. I didn’t use it. Valerie also uses a small amount of sprouted rye grains which, apparently, grain starches are transformed into simple sugars and fed to yeast and bacteria.
For my part, it is very difficult to find a place to buy grain in order to germinate it. For me it’s almost a lost battle… See that there are hundreds of recipes I’d like to make and I can’t because I don’t have access to them. In case you can, take a look at his recipe to see how to proceed.
- small apples sufficient to fill a 2-litre container
- a bunch of fresh peppermint
- 47,5 oz (1350 g) water, more or less
- 4 Tbsp rye flour
- 5,3 oz (150 g) honey
- 2 Tbsp 100% hydrated rye sourdough
- 1/2 Tbsp salt
Prepare the apples.
- Wash the apples very well together with the peppermint and place them in a Fido container. We must place them in such a way that they fit together to prevent them from moving.
Make the brine.
- In a pot pour the water together with the rye flour and salt. Mix to dissolve completely.
- Place over medium heat, stirring occasionally, and let it boil gently.
- Remove from the heat and incorporate the honey. Mix until it dissolves completely.
- Let stand until it cools.
- Add the rye sourdough and mix until it is fully dissolved.
Pour the brine over the apples and let it ferment.
- Pour the mixture over the apples until they are completely covered.
- Let it ferment at room temperature for 5-6 days.
- For 2-3 times a day, we will remove the white froth that is generated on the surface.
- After these days, store the container in the fridge and let it ferment for 30-60 days.
- They keep in perfect condition for up to 1 year.
- The original recipe specifies not to use red apples because the result does not taste good. In my case I used cider apples and the flavor was extraordinary.
- Make sure that the apples are organic or, if not, remove the wax layer from the outside so that the brine can penetrate them.
- If you don't have sourdough and don't want to make it, you can make the brine without it. Add the rest of the ingredients, including rye flour for flavor and aroma, and continue with the same process.
- To measure the amount of water in your container, it is best to fill it with water before using it and pour it into a medium pot.
- The apples must remain submerged throughout the fermentation process. Otherwise they will turn dark brown and wrinkle into a soft consistency.
- The amount of brine may be reduced during the fermentation process. This is because apples absorb part of it. In that case, we must add a little water, previously boiled and cooled.
These Russian brined apples will delight, fascinate and fall in love equally. They are perfect to eat as it is or to add them in salads or as an accompaniment to meats. The latter is the most traditional way to serve them.
So make them as soon as possible because they require a long fermentation time and the waiting can become hard.
I wish you a happy start to the week!