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Sunday, July 23, 2017

An Apple a Day …

Walk into any grocery store any time of year and most likely you will find red delicious, golden delicious, and granny smith apples – all perfectly shaped and easy to recognize. If you’re lucky, you may find a few other varieties, such as McIntosh, Gala, Braeburn, and Fuji apples–especially during the fall harvest time. 

 

More than half of the apples grown in the United States for fresh eating are grown in Washington State and harvested in mid-August through early November. Other apple-growing states include New York, Michigan, California, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Americans eat about 19.5 pounds of fresh apples per year, compared to about 46 pounds consumed annually by residents of European countries. Perhaps they know something that we don’t . . . such as one medium apple contains 80 calories, 5 grams of fiber, no saturated fat, no cholesterol, and no sodium. And let’s not forget the old saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.”

 

As I was searching the internet for apple information and facts, I found an enthusiastic website hosted by an apple-loving Canadian by the name of Richard, and his list of “Why You Should Love Apples” includes:

 

·    They’re tasty and good for you.

·    They don’t leave a slippery peel behind–like bananas do.

·    It takes a long time for apples to go bad, so they’re perfect for lunches, long hikes or the bus ride home from school.

·    Unlike oranges, apples don’t make your fingers stink.

·    Apples won’t make you fat.

·    You can make a zillion other foods out of apples, like apple pie, apple sauce, candy apples, apple juice, and—ummmm—fried apples.

·    No young person’s lunch is complete unless there’s an apple in it.

 

How about bobbing for apples? Originating in Celtic times, this game involves putting apples in a tub that has been filled with water. Fresh apples float because 25 percent of their volume is air. The game consists of grabbing the floating apples with your teeth and without using your hands. It is believed that the first person that succeeds in catching the apple would be the next one to marry. Although I haven’t bobbed for apples in years, I think we play the game now just for fun, and we decide who will get married next by who catches the bride’s bouquet.

How about making some candy apples or caramel apples? What’s not to love about a crisp juicy apple coated in sticky candy or chewy caramel? The origin of the candy apple is unclear, but this treat was around at the turn of the century, when they were called candied apples and coated with a mixture of sugar, corn syrup, water, cinnamon and red food coloring. A sales representative for Kraft Foods in the 1950s is credited with inventing caramel apples. I hope he received a bonus for creating that taste sensation.

Candy Apples

12 red apples, washed and dried, placed on popsicle sticks or wooden skewers

3 cups granulated sugar

1 cup corn syrup

1 cup water

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon red food coloring

 

Lighty grease baking sheet. In a Saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup and water. Heat, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil, uncovered and without stirring, until a few drops in cold water separate into threads. Blend in cinnamon and food coloring. Remove from heat. Tip saucepan and dip apples in syrup turning to coat evenly. Place on prepared baking sheet to harden.

 

Caramel Apples

 

1 1/2 cups chopped peanuts (or M&Ms, or coconut, or chocolate chips)

6 firm apples, washed and dried

6 popsicle sticks or wooden skewers

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup butter

1/8 cup white corn syrup

Waxed paper

 

Place peanuts (or M&Ms, or coconut, or chocolate chips) in a shallow bowl; set aside.

Insert wooden skewers into the stem end of apples.

In a small dish, stir together vanilla and baking soda; set aside.

 

In a heavy saucepan, place sugar, butter, and corn syrup. Cook over medium heat, stirring to blend, and continue to cook until mixture reaches 300 degrees fahrenheit on a candy thermometer. Stir in vanilla mixture.

 

Dip and twist apples in hot caramel until coated. Roll apples in nuts (or M&Ms, or coconut, or chocolate chips). Place on waxed paper to harden.

 

Apple Crisp

6 granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced thin

2 Tbsp. lemon juice

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup water (if apples are not very juicy)

 

Topping:

1/2 cup sugar

3/4 cup flour

1/4 tsp. Salt

6 Tbsp. butter, melted

Cinnamon

 

Place sliced apples in 8×8 inch pan. Combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and sprinkle over the apples; toss to coat. Sprinkle apples with lemon juice. (For variety you could add 6 ounces of fresh blueberries or fresh raspberries to the apples.)

 

Combine topping mixture and put it on top of apples, then sprinkle the top with cinnamon. Bake 40 minutes at 375 degrees. Use fork to make sure apples are tender. Serve warm or room temperature or ice cold, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.

 

 

Apple Crumble

2-1/2 cups old-fashioned oats

1-1/2 cups brown sugar (packed)

1 cup flour

1 cup butter (2 sticks) cut into cubes

4 lbs. Large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced

3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon

 

Mix oats, 1 cup sugar, and flour in a bowl; add butter; rub in with fingertips until topping comes together in clumps.

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 13×9 inch baking dish with butter or non-stick spray. In a large bowl, toss the apples with the lemon juice, cinnamon, and 1/2 cup brown sugar, then transfer to the baking dish. Sprinkle the topping over the apples. Bake for 50 minutes or until apples are tender and topping is brown and crisp. Spoon warm crumble into bowls and serve with ice cream.

 

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