FOOD: A BUSHEL FULL of APPLE IDEASWondering what you’ll do with all those apples you and the family picked? What follows is a brief look at one of America’s all time favorite fruits and some recipes sure to become your most requested.
By: Jana Peterson, Living North Magazine
Did you know when European colonists arrived in North America they found only wild crab apple trees? Fact is that crab apple is the only variety native to these parts.
Today there are hundreds of apples — from tart-crisp to sweet- succulent — many brought by the Dutch and English settlers, then spread throughout the land in nurseries created by the legendary Johnny Appleseed.The most popular varieties today are Red and Golden Delicious, Gala, Fuji and Granny Smith, with the state of Washington producing the most and New York second.
Best of all, the apple is one of nature’s powerhouse foods,chock full of nutrients, vitamins and fiber. So much so that the old adage “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” is sage advice, since a balanced diet that includes lots of apples can keep your immune system strong. And because apples are so wonderfully versatile they lend themselves to many delicious dishes, both sweet and savory, and are especially delightful when paired with full-bodied cheeses.
DUTCH APPLE PANINI
4 slices whole wheat, marbled rye or multi grain bread
4 slices Old Amsterdam Dutch style cheese
1 Macintosh, Fuji or Granny Smith apple, cored and thinly sliced
2 slices cooked lean ham, prosciutto or thin sliced applewood smoked bacon or sausage
2 tablespoons butter
Compose two sandwiches with first 4 ingredients. Spread top of each sandwich with butter.
Heat a grill pan and place sandwiches butter side down. Place a heavy skillet on top to secure and cook until golden brown and crispy on bottom (about 2 minutes). Remove heavy skillet and spread remaining butter on top of sandwiches before turning over. Top with heavy skillet again and cook until brown and crispy, about 1 minute. Serves 2.
HOMEMADE APPLE SAUCE
3 to 4 lbs of peeled, cored, and quartered apples. (Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Fuji, Jonathan, Macintosh, or Gravenstein)
Peel and Juice of one lemon
1 cinnamon stick or 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup water
Place ingredients in a large pot and cover. Bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Remove from heat to cool. Removing cinnamon stick and lemon peel; mash with potato masher. Serve warm or cold. Try applesauce with pork tenderloin, potato pancakes or latkes or add to oatmeal and yogurts. For an instant apple cobbler treat, top vanilla ice cream with homemade applesauce, crunchy sugared nuts and crumbled shortbread, biscotti or amaretto cookies.
BAKED APPLES TWO WAYS
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup finely chopped dried apricots
2 teaspoons cinnamon
4 large Granny Smith apples
2 teaspoons unsalted butter
8-inch square deep baking pan
Preheat oven to 350o. Peel apples, starting at the top, 1/4 of the way down sides. Core apples carefully, using an apple corer or small knife, to create a wide top opening (11/2 - 2 inches in diameter) while keeping bottom intact.
Toss together nuts, sugar, apricots and cinnamon. Gently pack mixture into apples, and placing butter (1/2 teaspoon) on top of each apple. Place apples in pan. Pour water into pan about 1/4 inch deep. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake 45 minutes. Serves 4.
1/2 cup finely chopped cooked ham or sausage
1/4 cup diced celery
4 large Granny Smith Apples
2 tablespoons minced dried cranberries
1/4 teaspoon sage
1/4 teaspoon thyme
½ cup shredded Jarlsberg cheese
2/3 - 3/4 cup fat free chicken broth
8-inch square deep baking pan
Melt butter in small saucepan over medium heat. Saute onion, ham and celery until onion and celery are browned. While mixture is cooking, preheat oven to 350o. Peel apples, starting at the top, 1/4 of the way down sides. Core apples carefully, using an apple corer or small knife, to create a wide top opening (1 1/2- 2 inches in diameter) while keeping bottom intact.
Remove onion mixture from heat and place in small bowl. Add cranberries, sage, thyme and cheese, tossing mixture to combine well. Add chicken broth until mixture is moistened. Fill apples with mixture, dividing evenly, and set in pan. Pour water into pan, about ¼-inch deep. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake 45 minutes.