Your meat grinder is, possible, the most expensive piece of kit that you’ve got in your kitchen. At the end of the day, it’s a huge piece of machinery, and it does a lot of work tremendously efficiently. With all of those things in mind, we completely understand that you might like to use it as much as possible – we certainly use our meat grinders as much as possible to get our money’s worth.
There is a range of apples out there that might call for apples to be ground, finely chopped, or anything similar to that, meaning that there may come a time when you need to use your meat grinder to grind apples. In this article, we’re going to run through everything you need to know about that, and how best to ensure that you, your apples, and your meat grinder come through the experience unharmed.
Why might you want to grind apples?
You might want to grind apples for a few reasons! The first two that spring to mind are both baking-related, though you could also grind apples as part of a marinade for pork, or as a base for a sweet, rich dipping sauce.
The first use that comes to mind is for use as part of an apple cake. If the apples are a uniform, smooth consistency, then they can be mixed directly into the batter of the cake, allowing for the flavor to be evenly distributed throughout the finished product.
You could also use apples to feed a sourdough starter. This is quite rare, as the amount of sugar in apples varies from apple to apple, meaning that they can be an unpredictable food source. However, some bakers swear by this food source, and use it religiously! Grinding your apples before mixing them into your starter would allow you to ensure that you can feed all of your starters evenly, rather than improperly distributing the sugar-rich apples.
How to use a meat grinder to grind apples
Before you use your meat grinder to grind the apples, you need to first core the apples – thereby removing the tough, fibrous core that most apples share. This will allow for the apples to grind more easily.
Ensure that the remaining chunks do not contain any seeds – apple seeds are very bitter, and will leave a poor taste in the remaining apple pulp.
Finally, freeze the apples for around thirty minutes before grinding – this will ensure that they grind more efficiently, rather than being ‘crushed’ by the blades of the grinder.
The first step in grinding apples is to cut the apple into small pieces. The best shape is similar to that of a French fry, though thicker – a longer length allows you to minimize the chances of getting your fingers in the grinder.
Next, feed each of the apple slices into the grinder, being sure to add them at a fairly steady rate. Be sure to place a bowl under the output of the grinder, and feel free to re-grind the apples after they have gone through once already – this can help you to achieve a more even and overall smooth texture.
How to clean your meat grinder after using it to grind apples
After using your grinder to grind apples, it’s important to make sure that it’s as clean as possible. The citric acid from the apples can cause some degradation in the blades themselves, plus any residual sugars make the grinder a target for mold over time.
First of all, feed a few slices of bread through the grinder. The bread will absorb any liquids, water- or oil-based, in the grinder, leaving you with a slightly easier to clean final grinder.
Next, dismantle all the removable parts of your grinder, before moving them to the sink and soaking them in hot, soapy water. Make sure to use a solution of mild dish soap and water, as some other detergents could be too harsh for the metal of the grinder, leading to a final grinder that’s not operating totally efficiently.
Finally, scrub the soaked parts with a sponge or a kitchen brush. Feel free to be a little aggressive – really working the brush is the best way to ensure that you remove the residual apple pieces from the grinder itself.
After cleaning, rinse with cold water, and immediately dry with a towel. Do not allow the metal to sit, wet, in your kitchen, as this could lead to rust over time, even with stainless steel.
Potential damage your meat grinder could sustain
Your meat grinder is a tough piece of equipment, with the steel typically being thick, strong, and resilient to most types of damage. However, your meat grinder is designed to cut through meat, not fruit.
It’s true that meat is tougher than fruit, which means that the motor or gears of your grinder won’t sustain damage through prolonged grinding of fruit. However, apples, and other types of fruit, are considerably more liquid-heavy than meat. This means that those sticky juices can, sometimes, get into the gears and motors of your grinder, making proper cleaning essential.
After grinding fruit, we would recommend running through your regular cleaning routine, as well as using a long brush (such as a bottle brush) to make sure that hard-to-reach areas are as clean as they possibly can be. At the end of the day, water will eventually evaporate without leaving a sticky residue behind. Fruit juice, on the other hand, can and will leave your grinder with sticky surfaces and blades throughout if you don’t clean it properly. Not only does this impair the function of your grinder, but it also allows for potential mold growth and similar unsafe food practices.
A meat grinder is a truly versatile piece of equipment, and the fact that it can easily munch its way through apples is a testament to that. We hope that this article has filled you in on all the need-to-know information to help you keep grinding for a long time yet.