I’ve previously written about dealing with a glut of plums, as they are a common backyard fruit. A glut of apples or pears might seem to be a slightly unlikely occurrence, but even if you don’t have access to homegrown, I surely can’t be the only one who has gone to an orchard to pick a few fresh apples and pears and come home with eight kilos needing to be quickly consumed… Please tell me I’m not! 🙂
Even without the pick-your-own frenzy, pears and apples in season at farmers markets can be quite cheap, and I often buy juicing apples for making apple puree or other cooking. Even wild apples, often found growing by the road or in parks, can be used for apple jelly or butter. So there are lots of ways you might end up with a pile of lovely fruit to use, and even if you just have a couple of pears that are getting a bit soft you could make some muffins and a smoothie!.
Wherever you get them, freshly picked apples and pears are hard to beat just as they are. I also love pears in salads when they’re still a little crisp, and poaching the softer ones. In fact the recipes below give you a bit of a continuum – eat the best fruit as is or in a salad; once it gets a little softer, or for cooking varieties, use for baking in cakes or tarts; and for the fruit that’s damaged or slightly past its best, puree or turn into jelly. I started making the apple/apple-berry puree below to use up apples that were a bit too soft to eat but still perfectly good.
Regarding the ideas below, all of these link to dishes I’ve made (except for my MIL’s special apple tart), most of them several times. Some are separate recipes on the blog, some are recipes elsewhere online, and a few are only available in books, but are such great recipes that I’ve linked to the recipe description on Eat Your Books, and you may find the recipe elsewhere – or you could buy the book ;).
Alsace apple tart – my MIL’s recipe that I’ll have to get from her, but until then, very similar recipe here
Apple crumble – everyone probably has a recipe for this? but let me know if not
Apple butter – I’ve tried a few, but this recipe is good
Apple jelly – I use my quince jelly recipe but with apples
Pear and vanilla jam – another recipe from Rachel Saunders’ book, link to book details and ingredient list here (Edit: here’s the complete recipe, just leave out the rosemary and pine syrup and add a vanilla bean at the beginning)
Roasted pears – throw a few quartered pears and some sage leaves in with other vegetables when roasting, especially parsnips. Wonderful with sausages and any pork, whether roasted, chops etc