With a Bourbon and Bacon party coming up, I wanted to develop something to complement bacon’s savory flavor with an interesting sweetness. After Googling around for a while, I discovered some recipes for Russian Brined Apples, which seems like a pretty authentic way to make pickled apples. The recipes varied quite a bit. Some specified tarragon leaves, others took a more DIY approach to the spicing. Most included honey in the brine. Some included rye flour. All said to use the smallest green apples available.
The gist I was getting is that this is a recipe designed to produce some acid from lacto bugs and some alcohol from yeasts. Here’s the recipe I ultimately went with:
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1TB salt
- 2TB rye flour
- 1 pinch bread yeast
Mix these together and set aside.
- 64g (2.5) oz ginger, cut into matchsticks
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- Small Granny Smith apples, enough to fill a one-gallon container (aff)
Layer these in the jar as best you can. Obviously none these items have an especially regular shape, so they’re going to float when you add your brine. Don’t stress on that.
Using warm water to loosen it up, pour the honey/salt/flour/yeast mixture over the apples. Continue like this until they’re well covered. Use a weight of sort to ensure that the contents remain submerged. Cover with a breathable lid – although I think you could also treat this as a standard alcohol ferment and put it under airlock. I wanted something a little wild, with a smidge of commercial yeast to guide the process.
Here they are about a week in, cloudy and bubbling. The aroma at this stage is marvelous, sweet with the ginger/cinnamon headiness and a faint hint of alcohol forming. I stir the surface of the mixture daily to discourage mold growth and help with aeration.
After a couple of weeks, I put these in the fridge to help stave off mold. After just about a month, here’s a few shots of the finished products. These taste incredible – tart, gingery, cinnamony, and almost slightly effervescent. This was a really fun experiment with a great result.