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Food Storage Tips: Caramel apple recipes to try

Last week in the store, next to the apples in the produce section, I saw a big barrel full of individually wrapped caramel candies. I also saw packaged caramel apple making kits.

I know from a carmel corn recipe that making caramel isn’t especially difficult. It involves butter and brown sugar and cooking it on the stovetop in a certain way that isn’t that complicated, right? So why do all of the caramel apple recipes on allrecipes.com call for individually wrapped caramels?

Caramels probably store just fine. But who remembers to store caramels? I don’t. If you know that you can make your own caramel from a few basic ingredients, you have more options.

Anyway, if you want to make caramel apples without making a special trip to the store or spending a lot of time peeling off the little plastic wrappers, here are links to a couple of recipes:

The best and easiest caramel apples, from Recipezaar. This recipe calls for butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, a can of sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla (as well as apples and sticks). Based on the recipe, it seems like this one does take a long time to cook (30 to 40 minutes on low), but the reviews say they are very good.

Caramel apples from Family Fun Magazine. This one just calls for butter and brown sugar, in case you are someone who avoids corn syrup. The submitter of the recipe says that this “makes a glossy caramel coating that sticks to the apples without pulling out your fillings.” This recipe looks like it cooks up a lot more quickly.

The lesson: look for basic, old-fashioned recipes that your family likes. Those kinds of recipes make it easier to use your food storage regularly. Some recipes that use basic ingredients take more time to cook, but not always. Sometimes we forget how people used to cook before Kraft and Pillsbury started publishing cookbooks.

[Okay, okay, caramel apples are not the best example of this principle. Caramel requires butter, which doesn't store well unrefrigerated. I do have a case of butter in my freezer, though, and no caramels in the basement. If you really want to store individually wrapped caramels, go for it!]

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