SUNDAY’s Sampler Platter – (imagine that).
Is there any other fruit that can claim as many starring roles in stories, legends, clichés and one-liners as the apple? From its central role as the forbidden fruit in the Adam and Eve Biblical tale to being the chosen fruit that Snow White’s evil stepmother uses to poison her biggest threat – sinking your teeth into a crisp and juicy apple conjures up a bit of folklore and even sage advice (an apple a day keeps the doctor away) in each bite.
While everyone has their favorite – Macintosh, granny smith, gala or Fuji – the red delicious is the most popular apple variety in the United States and each year, Americans buy more than 62 million bushels of the fruit, according to the U.S. Apple Association. Disgusting I say! Who would want to eat a waxy piece of fruit? Not this goddess let me tell ya. I’d rather sleep like Snow White.
Each variety of apple has a unique taste and texture, so don’t be afraid to experiment. Here’s a list of what to expect with each bite.
Tender and tangy, the McIntosh breaks down quickly when cooked — perfect for smooth and flavorful applesauce.
Firm and crisp, the Golden resists browning and holds its shape when baked. Pair it with blue cheese for a healthy and satisfying snack.
Juicy and very sweet with a fine-textured, pale-yellow flesh, this apple is great for snacking, sauteing, or slow baking.
With its subtle wine flavor, this choice cooks well with fish, meats such as pork, and root vegetables. Its petite size lends itself as a garnish or to decorative wreaths.
This McIntosh relative is sweet and tangy, with a tender white flesh that goes well in fruit salads. Try it as a garnish or for making applesauce.
This fruit keeps well. Enjoy its juicy, sweet flavor as a snack, in salads, or as a picnic treat.
Supermarket varieties tend to be mealy, so enjoy this sugary, yellow-fleshed apple straight from the tree.
Apples are versatile. They can be eaten straight from the tree, coated in chocolate, dipped in caramel, baked into a pie or cake or used in a variety of different ways. If, after a season of apple picking, you have too many apples on-hand, try some of these alternative uses for apples.
Apple Dolls are folk dolls originating from early rural America when settlers made dolls from whatever was at hand. Apple dolls are made by carving a face in an apple and drying it. Due to the different effects drying produces, no two dolls are alike. Here’s how to make one: http://www.appledolls.org/
Soften hardened brown sugar. Place a slice of apple in a canister of hardened brown sugar, cover and allow to sit over night. The apple will soften the sugar without affecting the flavor.
Make candle holders. Core the center of an apple, insert a taper candle and light for a festive dinner party.
Grow the seeds. Apple seeds sprout easily – just make sure to dry out the seeds for a few weeks – making a nice little houseplant, or transplanted, a nice tree. Sprouting apple seeds is a great project for children and a great way to teach them about the food life cycle, but the tree could take several years (five or more) before it starts producing fruit. Seeds can be sprouted either in a seed-starter soil or even in a cup of water but they should be kept in a cool and sunny spot.
Ripen tomatoes. Place green, unripe tomatoes in a paper bag with apples to speed in ripening.
Easy potpourri. Simmer apples, a cinnamon stick and orange peel on the stove with a bit of water to fill the home with a scrumptious scent.
Use in crafts. Slice apples, dry them and use to make wreaths or other decorations. Combine with dried lemon, orange or other fruit slices for a unique look. Apple stamping is also popular. Slice apple in half, dip in ink or paint, then stamp or napkins, paper bags, invitations or plain paper.
Dry for later snacking. Slice apples, dip into lemon juice and or mildly salted water and dry. Dried apples can be eaten alone or added to homemade trail mix.
Use in baking. Apples are used to bring unique flavor to a variety of dishes – from pork chops and chicken to pot roast and ham – slice them and throw them into the pot.
Treat dandruff. Massage apple juice (either freshly juiced or unsweetened, pure juice) into hair after washing and allow to sit for several minutes. Rinse. Apple juice is great for removing dandruff-causing dirt and build-up.
At home facial. Combine pureed apple with unflavored yogurt and honey for a nutrient-rich homemade facial conditioner. Smooth onto face, allow to sit for several moments before rinsing.
Add to bath. Add a cup of pure apple juice to the bath for a scented soak.
Super Stuffed Baked Apples
- 4 large McIntosh or Empire apples, cored
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup instant oatmeal mix or rolled oats
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, a healthy grating
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 4 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
- 2 ounces, 1/8 cup, golden raisins, chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts or walnut pieces or pecans
- 1 pint Dulce de Lecha (caramel) ice cream
- Whipped cream in a canister
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Sprinkle cored apples with lemon juice. Mix next 7 ingredients and over-stuff apples. Bake 20 minutes in a small oven safe dish. Transfer apples to small bowls with a spoon and top with ice cream whipped cream.
Laugh, learn and liven up your taste buds!