Salt On Apples (The Hack We Bet You Haven’t Tried)
Salt on apples? Who has ever heard of such a thing? But this is a secret we are just dying to share — this trick has many benefits and will change your life forever!
So, what exactly does salt on apples do? First, it helps balance the sweet and bitter flavors of some apples. Second, it has tenderizing effects to make the apples crunchier and reduce their softness. Third, it can extract excess moisture — this will create less saucy fillings that are ideal for crunchy, crisp pastries and pies.
Today we will take a look at this amazing yet underrated trick that helps enhance and elevate your apple flavors. It is super easy, and we will even discuss the effects of using different types of salt and different types of apples!
Why Do People Put Salt On Apples?
Have you ever heard of such a thing? Neither did we! But once we started implementing this fun trick, our lives changed forever.
Now, there are a couple of reasons why you would put salt on apples.
The first is that this is a technique used by bakers and pastry chefs to help withdraw the moisture and juices from the flesh of the apple.
What is the point of doing this? Simply put, by extracting the moisture from the apple slices or wedges, you can create a drier filling or topping.
The reason that many bakers want this is that it helps prevents the pie crust or pastry lining from becoming excessively soggy!
When apples are baked (unsalted) they release a ton of juices. While this is fantastic for items like apple sauces, apple custards, or apple muffins, it ruins crispy products like pastries or pies.
Then, another reason people have started adding salt over their apples is simply that it tastes good. Yes, it’s strange — but it is truly a fantastic way to balance an overly sweet or extremely tart flavor!
If you don’t want to eat apples as snacks with salt on them, you can always implement this technique when making fillings, sauces, and jams.
Most of these items contain salt in their recipes. And again, you can benefit from the salt extracting the moisture anyways. So, if you can balance the flavor simultaneously, you are saving yourself time and effort!
Does It Change Their Flavor?
Salt will definitely change the flavor of the apples, no matter how you use them. Luckily, that’s the point of salting apples!
If you use salt to extract moisture from the apples, they are also simultaneously tenderizing the texture (flesh) of the apple. This allows some of the salty liquid to be re-absorbed!
Now, we’re not saying that you will end up with super-salted apples — however, you will taste some saltiness on your apples.
If you are making salted apple snacks, you will likely add more salt per snack than if you would when extracting moisture.
And, if you are using salt to help balance the flavor, the flavor of the mixture will be different than if you don’t use salt. After all, the reason you are using it is to change the flavor!
Can You Prevent The Apples From Becoming Salty?
A lot of people don’t want their apples to become even slightly salty when they use the trick to extract moisture.
The only way you can make the apples less salty is by rinsing them before using them in the mixture. Then, pat them dry very well.
However, the downside to doing this is that the apples will re-absorb some liquids (which is what you just tried to get rid of). And secondly, it’s more work!
So, we just recommend not using too much salt for this technique — just sprinkle a pinch or two over the wedges. Then, wipe the apples down with dry paper towel.
If your apples still have a slight salty flavor to them, don’t worry. They only elevate the natural flavors of this fruit while balancing overly sweet or tart flavors.
Does It Affect Different Types Of Apples In Different Ways?
As you may know, different species of apples have different flavors. Even though you will probably never be able to taste all 7,500 varieties, you will likely have access to the most popular ones!
Let’s take a look at the main flavors of apples and how salt will affect them.
Some of the most eaten apples are sweet varieties. They include species like Fuji, Gala, Honeycrisp, Red Delicious, Opal, Sweetie, and Kiku apples. There are of course many more, but these varieties are usually available worldwide.
These apples are known for their super sweet and often very juicy texture and flavor.
When you add salt to these apples, you are essentially balancing their sweetness. That means that they will have a less sweet flavor — it doesn’t necessarily mean you will be able to taste the salt or that the apples will be very salty.
Obviously, the amount of salt you add will affect how salty the apples end up being.
We don’t recommend adding salt to tart apples. It will not make the apples less tart — in fact, the tartness will most likely enhance the saltiness!
Examples of tart apples are Pink Lady, Braeburn, Johnathan, Empire, and Cortland apples.
Bitter and tart are not the same although some people use these terms interchangeably. While they do share some characteristics, they are different.
If you talk about bitter flavors, you are describing more of an acrid flavor, not a sour one. Something can be bitter (like coffee) without being sour. Lemons are sour.
Tart describes something sour with a sharper, more acidic taste to it. Lemon pith is more tart, whereas lemon juice is sourer.
So, bitter apples can definitely benefit from a bit of salt! It helps reduce the bitter flavors while enhancing some of the sweeter and fruitier ones that apples have.
Some apples are naturally more bitter than others. These include varieties like Bramley’s Seedling, Honeycrisp, Cox’s Orange Pippin, and Meridian.
Another reason why apples may be bitter is that they are under-ripe. The salt may not fix their hard texture, but it will help with the flavor of under-ripe apples.
How To Use Salt With Apples
This depends on why you are adding salt to the apples.
1. Extracting Moisture
If you want to extract some moisture, you can sprinkle a pinch or two of fine salt over a layer of apple slices or cubes.
Always place the apples in a single layer. This will help you cover as much of the batch with salt as possible without over-salting some areas.
You will also benefit from placing the apples on some dry paper towels, which will absorb the moisture being extracted. This will ultimately also prevent the apples from re-absorbing salty apple juices.
2. Tenderizing Apples
As we’ve mentioned, salt is also a tenderizer. So while it’s extracting moisture, it is breaking down bonds in the flesh of the apples — this is what ultimately tenderizes the apples’ texture.
Now, how do you do this? You can either salt the apples as we’ve described above, or you can soak them in salted water.
These apples will come out slightly salty — just don’t overdo it with the water-to-salt ratio.
3. Seasoning Apples For Snacks
When making snacks and other treats, you can simply add as much or as little salt as you’d like.
We don’t like overdoing it because you do still want to taste the naturally fruity and sweet flavors of the apples. If you add too much salt, you will lose that completely!
4. Balancing Flavor
It can be challenging to create the perfect balanced flavor for apple fillings, toppings, and sauces. So, always start with a pinch — sometimes that is all that you need!
Remember, you can always add more salt, but you cannot take any away. It’s next to impossible to make something less salty.
Best Salts To Use For Apples
You already know that different apples will have different flavors when you add salt to them. But what about when using different kinds of salt?
Again, depending on why you are adding salt to your apples, choosing a specific type can have some great benefits.
For tenderizing and extracting moisture you can use coarse, kosher, or fine salt. Any one of these will work.
But, for balancing flavors and enhancing the fruitiness of the apples, you should consider using special salts. Don’t worry, they are extremely versatile, and you can easily use them for cooking as well.
One easy example of this is using Pink Himalayan salt — this salt is said to have a more mineral-based flavor and a clean finish. Not to mention that many people claim it’s super healthy!
Then, you can also use seasoned salts, for example, a lime salt. The salt and acidity of the lime will help make the apple mixture a lot more interesting and complex in flavor.
This is another fantastic opportunity to experiment with different flavors and combinations!
I found just a pinch of finely ground Himalayan pink salt on apples is the cat’s meow. Being a lifelong cat person I would know about meows. On top of that apples are my favorite fruit. Thanks for a new yummy version of a healthy snack.
You forget one other great use for salt on apples. If you want to cut some apples now, but not eat them until later, you can use salt to stop them from browning. I’m sure there is some official measurement, but I just eyeball a teaspoon of salt and throw it into a soup bowl. Fill it with water then submerge the sliced apples in it for 10 minutes. Then rinse the apples and put them in an airtight container. Perfect for packing apple slices in your lunch!
For as far back as I can remember, I’ve eaten apples with salt. My dad got me started on this. He’d slice an apple, or two, and put a little salt on them and we would share the apple slices. What fond memories that has brought to mind! Thanks for jogging my mind.