This year's Halloween countdown was not all I hoped it would be, but let's try to finish strong with tonight's entry: Shrunken Apple Heads!
If you're playing along at home, you will need apples, lemon juice and salt. Holiday themed snacks are optional.
Peel and core your apples, then dig into their appley flesh until they look like faces. Unlike carving pumpkins, you don't have to tunnel all the way through to their hollow middle. Think more whittling than carving.
Now dunk your apples into a mixture of one cup lemon juice, one tablespoon salt. This will keep your apples from turning brown. It's actually quite remarkable. Our apples had started to brown while we were slicing up the others, but after taking a dip in the lemon bath, they were good as new. Make sure to fully submerge your apple head. Swish it around for a good minute, allowing the juice to seep in. Once you're satisfied with your marinade, pat the apple down with a paper towel and put your heads in a dry place to start shrinking!
This is where we went a little off script. Most apple head recipes suggest putting your heads outside to dry for a couple of weeks. Some even recommend heating them up in the oven. We decided to put them in the laundry room, which, as it turns out, is one of the things you are not supposed to do. It seemed dry enough in there, though, so I don't know what everyone was so worried about.
Drying apple heads is a slow process, so this is a good activity for early October. Then, if all goes as planned, you will have a bouquet of tiny, shriveled faces to great potential trick-or-treaters.
We eventually moved the apple heads out onto the porch because they were starting to smell (like pumpkin pie, but pumpkin pie you know you shouldn't eat). It hadn't rained here for the past month, so when it randomly down poured the other day, our poor apple heads were quite literally left out in the rain. I guess the flies add to the spookiness, but it also means the apple heads will be going out with the trash on Monday.
They're probably not supposed to be so moldy.