Apples at Their Peak of Flavor and Freshness

The crisp Fall air brings with it the wonderful smell and taste of fresh picked apples.

Here are some tips for picking and storing apples:

  • Twist or turn the apple from the branch. If you pull it, the buds next to it will break off and not bear fruit next year.
  • Don’t rely on redness as a guide to flavor.  Apples come in all shades of reds, yellows and greens. Choose clear colored apples. Often those with an intense green undercast or undertone are not completely ripe. Those with a dull yellowish-green undercast may be too ripe.
  • Choose apples that are free from bruises, blemishes and skin breaks. They should be firm with no soft spots or bruises.
  • When apples are thumped lightly with the knuckle, they should sound hollow, but not dull. Their smell should be flowery and aromatic.
  • For crisp, juicy apples, store in their plastic bag in the crisper part of the refrigerator, at 30 to 32 degrees. The freezing point of apples, which is damaging to the fruit, is about 28 or 29 degrees. Wash just before using, as their protective coating helps keep them from becoming dehydrated and bruised.

Apples are best when at their freshest. Orchards and roadside stands are overflowing with their best products of the season.  This is the ideal time to  visit apple orchards, stands, and produce centers, and savor the delectable fruits of the harvest.

I hope you enjoy this recipe for cookies, from my apple cookbook, From the Apple Orchard – Recipes for Apple Lovers:

Apple Cookies

2 1/4 cups flour
l teaspoon baking powder
l teaspoon baking soda
l/2 teaspoon salt
l/4  teaspoon cinnamon
l/4  teaspoon nutmeg
l/2 cup (l  stick) butter or margarine
l cup brown sugar
l egg
l/4 cup milk
2 cups apples, peeled and grated
l/2 cup chopped nuts

Sift dry ingredients. Cream butter and brown sugar. Add egg. Stir in dry ingredients with milk, apples, and nuts. Mix well. Drop by teaspoon on greased cookie sheet.

Bake at 375 degrees F. for 10-12 minutes. Glaze cookies with the following while still warm:

l  cup confectioners’ sugar
l tablespoon soft butter or margarine
l-2 tablespoons milk
l/2 teaspoon vanilla

Makes 3-4 dozen cookies

Enjoy visiting apple orchards and savoring the fruit of their bounty!

Best to you,

Lee Jackson
Apple cookbook author: From the Apple Orchard – Recipes for Apple Lovers,
Apples, Apples Everywhere – Favorite Recipes From America’s Orchards

Enhanced by Zemanta

Making Apple Roll-Ups

Matt, struggling to open his fruit rollup
Image by massdistraction via Flickr

Kids love fruit roll-ups from the store, but you can make them easily at home. What better time to make apple roll-ups than when this fruit is at its peak?

Apple Roll-Ups

6-8  apples
1/4 – 1/2  cup water
about 2 tablespoons honey

Wash, peel, core and cut-up apples.  Add water to apples in saucepan.

Cook over low heat just as you would for applesauce. Cook until apples are soft and break-up easily. Stir occasionally. Do not let apples scorch!

Put in blender or food processor and blend or process until apples are quite smooth.

Mix in about 1 tablespoon honey per cup of applesauce, depending on tartness of apples.

Add more water if apple mixture is too thick to spread evenly.

Cover bottom of cookie sheet pan with plastic wrap.

Spread apple mixture thinly over plastic wrap in pan. May need to use more than one pan.

Put in 150° F  oven with the door slightly open. Leave in oven for 12 hours, or until apples are almost dry, but still pliable.

When mixture cools enough to handle, roll up, as with a jelly roll, starting from wide end.

Store in plastic wrap until ready to use. Then slice each roll into bite-sized pieces.

Note: can use dehydrator for drying apples. Lightly grease trays and spread puree evenly and thinly onto trays. Set temperature at 130-140° F. Dry until fruit feels dry and pliable with no sticky spots.

Any applesauce that is leftover can be spread out on a cookie sheet and dried in this manner for a taste treat just like the store-bought varieties. Add nuts for a nutty-fruity roll.

Enjoy apples – ‘tis the season!

Lee Jackson
Author of From the Apple Orchard – Recipes for Apple Lovers
Apples, Apples Everywhere – Favorite Recipes From America’s Orchards
and Littlest Christmas Kitten
http://www.imagesunlimitedpub.com

Enhanced by Zemanta

Holiday Gift Ideas for Cooks and Apple Lovers

Apples are big and beautiful and plentiful this harvest season. Will cooks know what to do with all those apples? Many don’t realize there are endless applications for using apples beyond the sauces, pies, and crisps. Prolong the apple experience through the holidays by giving an apple cookbook to help the cook use up his or her supply of this amazingly versatile fruit.

The idea for From the Apple Orchard – Recipes for Apple Lovers came to home economist, Lee Jackson, during her school foods classes. It seemed the students always ran out of ideas for preparing apples. Jackson spent her early years living the orchard life and was an avid recipe clipper and food experimenter so she was a ready resource of all things “apple”.

As this book shows, cooks and apple lovers on your Christmas list will welcome the well rounded collection of apple recipes. Not only are there over 25 different pie recipes, but there are also recipes for apple salads, breads, appetizers, beverages, main dishes, cookies, desserts, and preserves.  Some of the mouthwatering recipes include Hot Burgundy Apple Punch, Glazed Apples, Special Apple Waldorf Salad, Apple Turnovers, Chicken with Apple-Cranberry Sauce, Apple-Oatmeal Bars, Apple Pandowdy and Fruity Applesauce Cake with caramel frosting.  There are even a few ethnic dishes such as Apple Kolaches, Apple Chutney, and Old Fashioned Apple Strudel.

If you want to give a larger gift, add the apple cookbook to a basket made up of ingredients for one or more of the recipes. Or you can pack in some colorful apple motif towels and pot holders – even a special Bundt pan or other baking pan or utensil would make the happy recipient know you put loving thought into your gift.

From the Apple Orchard – Recipes for Apple Lovers can be purchased at http://www.imagesunlimitedpub.com for $14.95 plus $4.95 postage. Supplies are limited so order early.

Enhanced by Zemanta