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Selcting & Storing Apples
As we quickly approach fall we begin to experience not only crisp air but our favorite crisp and juicy autumn treat: apples. They’ve been around for thousands of years and there are more than 25,000 varieties grown in the U.S.
So,we thought we would pay homage to the apple this September by giving you a little history, teaching you the best way to select and store your apples, and best of all, show you great ways to savor the flavor of this delectable fruit.
1. Apples are actually part of the rose family, just like pears and plums.
2. There are more than 2,500 varieties of apples grown in the U.S. That means if you had apple a day, it would take you nearly seven years to eat each kind.
3. There are more than 7,500 varieties of apples grown around the world. It would take you more than 20 years to try them all if you ate one a day!
4. It takes two pounds of apples to make one nine-inch apple pie
5. Apples ripen up to 10 times faster when you leave them out then when you refrigerate them.
6. Ever wondered why apples float? It’s because 25 percent of their volume is made up by air.
7. On average, apples contain 4.5 grams of fiber.
8. Apples are grown in all 50 states.
9.The only apple native to North America is the crabapple.
10. Apple trees can live for more than 100 years.
11. A peck of apples is 10.5 pounds.
12. A bushel of apples is roughly 42 pounds.
13. Two-thirds of the fiber and lots of antioxidants in apples are found in the peel.
14. Red Delicious apples are the most widely grown apple variety in the U.S.
15. Apples contain high levels of boron, which increases mental alertness.
16. Only one type of apple is native to the U.S.: The crabapple.
17. Apple seeds contain a cyanide compound.
18. Apple trees take four to five years to bear their first fruit.
19. The largest apple ever picked weighed three pounds. That’s the same weight as a teacup Chihuahua.
20. It takes roughly 36 apples to make one gallon of apple cider.
21. A medium apple contains about 80 calories.
22. The top apple-producing countries are China, the U.S., Turkey, Poland, and Italy.
23. The average person eats 65 apples each year.
24. Apples are thought to have originated in central Asia.
25. The average apple contains 10 seeds.
The most recognizable varieties for eating fresh include Red Delicious, sweet Golden Delicious, tart and green Granny Smith, red-and-yellow-streaked Gala and the red-marbled McIntosh. Bakers seek out varieties such as Jonathan, Cortland, Pippin, Winesap, Gravenstein and Braeburn for their sturdy texture that balance sweetness with pronounced tartness and hints of spiciness. Look for unbroken skin with good color and no soft brown spots. Whenever possible, buy newly harvested local apples.
Because apples continue to ripen at room temperature, refrigerate them in the cold back part of the refrigerator for 1 week or longer. If you plan to eat them soon after purchase, they can be held at room temperature for a few days.
Our Favorite Apple Recipes
10-minute Apple Sundae
courtesy of WHfoods.com
Prep and Cook Time: 10 minutes
2 TBS almond butter
¼ cup maple syrup
1½ tsp almond extract
2 TBS sliced almonds
2 TBS grated coconut
Coarsely chop almonds and set aside for topping.
Cut the apples into quarters and core. Then cut the quarters into 3 pieces lengthwise and ¼-inch pieces crosswise. Place in two serving bowls.
Drizzle the suace over the two bowls of apples and top with almonds and coconut.
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 1:30 h
Ready in: 1:45 h
Yield: 3½ cups (875 grams)
•3¾ lbs unpeeled apples (1.7kg, about 12 medium)
•1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
•½ teaspoon allspice
•¼ teaspoon cloves
•⅓ cup apple juice
•1 tablespoon lemon juice
•Core and cut the apples into eights.
•Place the apples, spices, apple and lemon juice in a large pot and stir to get the spices evenly distributed.
•Cover and cook on medium heat for 30 minutes.
•Using a wooden spoon or something similar, smush the apples as much as possible.
•Remove the lid and continue cooking for another hour, stirring every 15 minutes. The closer to the end you get, the more important this step is or the apples will stick to the bottom of the pan and potentially even burn if you forget about them for too long!
•Turn off the heat and if it's thick enough for you, remove from the heat.
•If you want it a little thicker, let it sit on the burner for another 30 minutes or even longer.
•Using an immersion blender, puree the apple butter. You could also use a blender or food processor, but the immersion blender is the least messy option.
•When cool, pour into containers and refrigerate for up for 5 days. Freeze any apple butter left after 5 days.
Hot Organic Cider
courtesy of organicauthority.com
16-18 whole cloves
8 small organic apples, such as gala
2 oranges, thinly sliced
2 quarts organic apple juice (fresh organic apple juice, if you can find it, is the best)
1/4 cup raw sugar
1 teaspoon allspice
cinnamon sticks, for garnish
Stud apples with cloves. In a large pot, combine remaining ingredients except for the cinnamon sticks. Bring to a simmer over low heat. Simmer for about 10-12 minutes. Remove from heat.
Ladle cider into mugs and garnish with a cinnamon stick and serve
No-bake Apple Walnut Tart
courtesy of WHfoods.com
Prep and Cook Time: 30 minutes, chilling time: about 1 hour
2-1/2 cups walnuts
1-1/2 cups dates (Medjool dates work well)
sea salt to taste
3 green apples, such as Granny Smith, sliced
juice of 1 lemon in 2 cups water
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp ground clove
2 TBS honey
1/2 cup apple juice
1/4 cup raisins
Combine walnuts and dates in food processor. Make sure you remove pits if dates have them and cut off end where stem was. Process until well mixed and ground, but not smooth (about 40 seconds). It should be a coarse texture when done. Press evenly into a 9-inch tart pan. Set in refrigerator while making the filling.
Slice apples by cutting into quarters. Cut out core and slice crosswise in 1/4 inch thick slices. Put into lemon water while you finish cutting apples. Drain well in colander when done.
Place apples in a large skillet with rest of the ingredients and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently on medium heat.
Remove apples with a slotted spoon from hot pan to a bowl and cool completely.
Reduce liquid to about half the volume and then cool.
Spread apples evenly over crust. Brush apple-juice syrup over apples. The tart can be served right away or it will keep in refrigerator until needed. Keep tart covered in refrigerator so it doesn't pick up moisture. Top with a little vanilla yogurt if desired.
FRESH APPLE SCONES
•2 ¾ cups all purpose flour
•1/3 cup granulated sugar
•3/4 teaspoon salt
•1 tablespoon baking powder
•1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
•1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) cold butter
•3/4 cup chopped fresh apple, in 1/2" pieces (about half a medium apple); leave the skin on, if you like
•3/4 cup cinnamon chips
•2 large eggs
•1 teaspoon vanilla extract
•1/2 cup applesauce, unsweetened preferred
•3 tablespoons coarse white sparkling sugar
•1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
) In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and spice.
2) Work in the butter just until the mixture is unevenly crumbly; it's OK for some larger chunks of butter to remain unincorporated.
3) Stir in the chopped apple and cinnamon chips.
4) In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla, and applesauce.
5) Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until all is moistened and holds together.
6) Line a baking sheet with parchment; if you don't have parchment, just use it without greasing it. Sprinkle a bit of flour atop the parchment or pan.
7) Scrape the dough onto the floured parchment or pan, and divide it in half. Gently pat and round each half into a 5" to 5 1/2" circle about 3/4" thick.
8) To make the topping: Stir together the coarse sugar and cinnamon. Brush each circle with milk, and sprinkle with the topping.
9) Using a knife or bench knife that you've run under cold water, slice each circle into 6 wedges.
10) Carefully pull the wedges away from the center to separate them just a bit; there should be about 1/2" space between them, at their outer edges.
11) For best texture and highest rise, place the pan of scones in the freezer for 30 minutes, uncovered. While the scones are chilling, preheat the oven to 425°F.
12) Bake the scones for 18 to 22 minutes, or until they're golden brown. When you pull one away from the others, it should look baked all the way through; the edge shouldn't look wet or unbaked.
13) Remove the scones from the oven, and cool briefly on the pan. Serve warm. When they're completely cool, wrap in plastic and store at room temperature for up to several days.
For more information go to www.kingarthurflour.com
Apple Cider Doughnut Recipe
Yield: about 18 doughnuts and doughnut holes
For the doughnuts:
1 cup apple cider
1 cup granulated sugar
3 1/2 cups flour, plus additional for the work surface
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 tablespoons butter (at room temperature)
1/2 cup buttermilk (low-fat or nonfat works fine)
For the glaze:
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons apple cider
Or for a maple syrup glaze:
1 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
Or granulated sugar coating
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
And vegetable oil for frying
1. Boil the apple cider in small saucepan(or a crockpot on high) until it is reduced to 1/4 cup. That will take 20 to 30 minutes. Set aside to cool.
2. Beat the butter with your mixer, adding in the sugar.
3. Next, add in the eggs, one by one, until the well mixed
4. Add buttermilk and reduced cider.
5. Stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg in another bowl.
6. Add these to liquid ingredients; mix just enough to combine.
7. Transfer dough to lightly floured parchment or wax paper and sprinkle the doughnuts with flour.
8. Turn the dough over onto one of the sheets and sprinkle the tops with flour.
9. Roll the dough until it is about 1/2 inch thick. Use more flour if the dough is still sticky.
10.Put the dough to the freezer until it is slightly hardened, about 20 minutes. Then remove the dough from the freezer.
11. Make the glaze: While the cut doughnut shapes are in the refrigerator, make the glaze by whisking together the confectioners' sugar and the cider until the mixture is smooth. (or follow the maple syrup glaze recipe) Both are below) Set aside.
12. Using a 3-inch doughnut cutter, cut out the doughnut shapes.
13.Put the cut doughnuts and doughnut holes onto the second cookie sheet pan.
14. Refrigerate the doughnuts for 20 to 30 minutes. (If you have leftover dough scraps, just re-roll them, refrigerate them briefly and cut additional doughnuts from the dough.)
15. Add enough oil or shortening to fill a deep pan 3 inches; heat the oil to 350 F (check with a frying or candy thermometer).
16. Fry several doughnuts at a time, turning once or twice, until golden brown and cooked through. That should be about 1 minutes per side. Watch them carefully; they'll quickly burn otherwise.
17.Remove the doughnuts with metal tongs or a slotted spoon and set on paper towels to drain.
18.While still warm, shake a few at a time in a paper bag containing cinnamon sugar OR pour the glaze (see ingredients) over them.
COPY FOR DECORATING:
Fall is a wonderful time to bring the outdoors in. The rich vibrant tones and textures offer a variety of looks to please every decorating style. And let’s be honest: Surrounding ourselves with the deep crimsons, burled browns, golden yellows and honest russets make all of us want to make a cup of tea and relax in nature’s opulence of these burnt orange days.
The simplicity of bringing outdoor elements indoors is another aspect that makes fall decorating so easy. The key is to mix and match. We love these ideas by, One Good Thing by Jilly. They combines thrift store finds and imagination to create a more magical season.