Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Apple Season

I am lucky enough to live within minutes of at least half a dozen orchards. Living near orchards in New England provides numerous benefits. First, I get to enjoy the trees themselves, which bloom early and announce spring. Next, I can buy apples and apple products right at the source, from people I know. And finally, I enjoy a great variety of apples, which are incredibly versatile fruits.

We had apple trees on our farm when I was growing up, but those were different creatures from the ones in orchards today. Those trees were giants, and for all I know, they could have been planted by Johnny Appleseed. Modern trees, though, are smaller and denser, which makes pruning and picking easier. 

While apples are nutritious (Vitamin C, fiber, potassium, etc.), they are mainly chosen for taste and texture. For eating out of hand, I like firm, slightly tart apples, such as MacIntosh and Honeycrisps. For cooking, I often mix apples: Cortlands for sweetness, Granny Smiths for tartness. One of my favorite cold weather desserts is apple crisp, and one of my favorite cold weather beverages is hot cider, mulled with a cinnamon stick and a few cloves.

Apples are also good for mixing with heavy, bland vegetables. Here is one of my favorite cool-weather dishes, Baked Roots and Fruit:

 First, cut the following into large chunks:
  • 1-2 large onions
  • 3 large carrots
  • 1 large parsnip
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 2 white potatoes
  • 1 apple, cored (peel or not, as you wish)
 Grease a roasting pan with olive oil and throw in the chunks of food. Sprinkle liberally with salt, pepper, and cinnamon. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake at 350-400 for approximately an hour, stirring once or twice.

1 comment:

  1. One of my favorite meals is pork chops and a big pile of fried apples.