If you had a special gadget for every cooking task, chances are you’d be a chef. Don’t worry about not having an apple corer. Coring an apple is easy using tools you already have. Be sure to wash the apples first with water ‒ no soap ‒ to remove any dirt, wax or pesticides.
Slicing Before Coring
The easiest way to core an apple without sacrificing too much of the fruit is to slice it first. Place your apple on the cutting board with its stem-side facing up, then:
- Using a large, smooth-bladed knife, place the blade horizontally across the apple and slice straight down all the way through the core, from stem to blossom end.
- Turn the halves over to lay flat and slice each into two pieces, resulting in four quarters.
- Use a small knife to cut the partial core from each quarter in one swift motion.
Prevent browning by spritzing slices with lemon or lime juice; stir to coat all the edges.
Coring Whole Apples
For impressive baked apples that make a statement when served, sliced apples just won’t do. But you can’t expect your guests to pick around the core, either.
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Instead, learn how to core an apple using an ordinary vegetable peeler with a pointed end. This tool has a long, vertical, exposed blade, and it’s sometimes called a swivel peeler. Newer model peelers, which usually have a layer of plastic behind the blade, will not work.
- Holding the apple with one hand, use your other hand to work the peeler.
- Starting from the stem end of the apple, place the tip of the peeler next to the stem or stem hole and push the peeler blade straight down through the apple. Repeat, going around the core in a rough circle.
- Use the peeler point to push out the core, removing it in pieces if necessary. Run the blade around the circle to remove any pieces of the core.
If you're also peeling your apples, it's best to core them first. Peeled apples are harder to hold.
Coring an Apple the Lazy Way
If you don’t want to bother with coring the apple, there’s another answer: Leave the core as-is. Any small knife will work for this method:
- With stem-side up, picture the probable location of the core and place the knife blade about 1/4 inch from the edge of the core. Cut straight down to slice off one side of the apple.
- If the slice includes any piece of the core, move your knife out a little further for the next slice. Rotate the apple, and cut straight down again to slice off another side of the apple.
- Continue to cut off slices all the way around the apple. Trim off any remaining apple pieces and use them in a recipe.
HINT: Alternatively, indulge yourself by eating around the core. It’s a cook’s benefit ‒ a bit like getting to lick the bowl after making icing ‒ but much healthier.
Peeling Apples With Ease
There’s no law that says the apples in your recipes must be peeled. After all, the skin is packed with nutrients and provides essential fiber. Most of the skin will fall off during baking anyway, and it can easily be pushed aside if desired. But, if you want skinless apples, blanching is an easy way to peel apples:
- Fill a large pot about halfway with water and bring to a boil.
- Gently drop the apples into the pot in batches ‒ don’t crowd them ‒ and leave them in for about 20 seconds to loosen the skins.
- Use a large spoon or ladle to remove the apples and place on a cutting board. Repeat with the remaining apples.
- When the apples are cool enough to handle, use a peeler or paring knife to remove the skin in a circular motion from top to bottom.
While blanching apples longer may make the skins looser, it will also make the apples less firm or even mushy.
Barbara Bean-Mellinger is a freelance writer who lives in the Washington, D.C. area and writes about food for eHow.com and leaf.tv. She started baking on her own at age nine, creating appetizers at 10, and making family meals by 14. Barbara holds a B.S. from the University of Pittsburgh, where she often cooked elaborate meals and desserts for friends.