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EVERYTHING APPLES October 31, 2017
My latest newspaper article covers apples. I have added it below.
This time of year, everywhere I look, I see apples. We have been growing apple trees since 1981. My husband has been asked, “When is the best time to plant apple trees?” His response is, “Ten years ago.” You don’t have to wait the full ten years to harvest your first apples, more like five to seven years, but the sooner you plant them, the sooner you can harvest the apples.
Apples have been found throughout most of recorded history. The creation story in many cultures include man living in a paradise filled with fruit trees. The apple has long been a symbol of temptation based on the biblical creation story where Eve tempted Adam with an apple.
Apples are an important symbol in Greek mythology, included in the stories of Hera and Zeus and Helen of Troy. Apples originally were served as a dessert. From time of ancient Greece, where apples were noted for their ability to aid digestion, thus eating them following the meal.
It was a falling apple that led Sir Isaac Newton to discover the law of gravity. And we have all heard of Johnny Appleseed. His birth name was John Chapman and he lived from September 26, 1774 to March 18, 1845. He was an American pioneer nurseryman who introduced apple trees to large parts of Pennsylvania, Ontario, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, as well as the northern counties of present-day West Virginia. He became an American legend while still alive, due to his kind, generous ways, his leadership in conservation, and the symbolic importance he attributed to apples.
There are more than 7,000 varieties of apples. Only about 100 are produced commercially in the United States.
In our yard, we grow 15 different types of apples on our large city lot, along with 26 other fruit trees. We have semi-dwarf trees, which are shorter making them easier to maintain and easier to harvest. Some years, due to unfortunate weather, we have only harvested 10 bushels and then other years, with cooperative weather, we have harvested 80 bushels.
We make cider and pressure can a lot of applesauce for us, our three daughters and their families. Apple crisp, apple pies and applesauce cake are also on the meal plan. On the years of abundance we have donated between 500 and 2000 pounds of apples to Hidden Harvest for them to distribute to food pantries.
Each apple has certain characteristics which lends it better for eating raw or cooking. A few years back, when my niece was visiting in the fall, we had an Everything Apple Day. We made cider in the morning, mixing as many varieties as we could. The more varieties the better the flavor of the cider. Next we tasted nine apples and evaluated which ones we liked best as eating apples. The Honeycrisp was our favorite. In the afternoon we made seven small apple pies using one kind of apple for each small pie. We made a diagram to keep track of each pie so when they were baked, we would know which apple we were eating. It was very scientific! We sampled each pie and agreed that Northern Spy was the best pie apple.
When consumers think of baking apples, many minds go to homemade apple pie. Apples that keep their shape are best for making a pie. The absolute best apple for pie is up for debate, but good choices include Braeburn, cameo, Cortland, granny smith, northern spy, and Jonathan varieties.
Baking apples can be peeled for use in pies, cobblers and crisps, but the peels can also be left on for a different texture and flavor. To prepare apples for baking, slice them into the desired shape and use brown sugar or sugar to coat the apples. While adding butter to the apples adds fat and calories, it also adds flavor when the butter bakes into the apples. Add nutmeg and cinnamon to baked dishes for a tasty flavor combination.
Good sauce apples will lose their shape and break into pieces when cooked. Good choices include golden delicious, McIntosh, Cortland and Jonathan. Good baking apples include Jonathan, golden delicious, McIntosh and Cortland. When making applesauce boil the apples until soft and then mash to desired consistency. Add spices like nutmeg or cinnamon to create flavored sauce. Adding strawberries to the recipe offers a complementary flavor.
Apples can be frozen with or without sugar. Slice and core apples. Add ascorbic acid to prevent the fruit from browning. Sugar or syrup can be added or they can be frozen by simply placing apples in a freezer-safe container.
With so many different apples to choose from, there is sure to be an apple out there that each of you enjoy. Following are some recipes for you to make. I will have additional recipes to give you at my Open Hours, October 25, 26, 27, & 28 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Donna Frawley is the owner of Frawley’s Fine Herbary and author of “The Herbal Breads Cookbook,” “Our Favorite Recipes.” and “Edible Flowers Book.” She also has her own DVD “Cooking with Herbs.” Look for her column each month in the Daily News. She can be reached at 631-3136, at firstname.lastname@example.org or at http://www.frawleysfineherbary.com
OATMEAL APPLE RAISIN MUFFINS
Great for breakfast, afternoon tea, or an afterschool snack.
3/4 cup milk
1 cup raisins
1 chopped apple
1/2 cup oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup quick oats
1/3 cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoon cinnamon
Beat egg in a medium sized mixing bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients, mixing just until moistened. Pour into greased muffin cups, until 3/4 full. Bake at 400° F. for 15 to 20 minutes. Serve hot or cool with butter. Makes 12.
SWEET AND SOUR RED CABBAGE Serves 8
I love this dish served with sausage. The currant jelly is the key ingredient.
4 to 5 slices of bacon, cut up into 1/2 inch pieces
1 head red cabbage, finely shredded
1 apple, diced
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup currant jelly
In a large saucepan sauté bacon until brown. Add cabbage to pan and sauté, stirring continuously. Add apple, brown sugar, vinegar and salt and pepper. Cover saucepan and simmer until tender. Drain off any extra liquid and stir in currant jelly. Continue stirring until jelly is melted. Serve with sausage, pork chops or just about anything.
APPLE AND ONION CASSEROLE
This flavor is so great, it will surprise you with how easy it is.
6 medium onions
4 medium apples
8 slices bacon – cut in 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 cup soft bread crumbs
3/4 cup hot stock or water
Peel and cut the onions in 1/8 inch slices. Peel, core, and cut the apples into similar slices. Sauté bacon until brown and remove from the pan. Take out two tablespoons of the bacon fat and toss the bread crumbs in the remainder. Grease a baking dish. Arrange the onions, apples, and bacon in alternate layers. Pour over hot stock or water. Cover the top with the bread crumbs. Cover the dish and bake it for 30 minutes at 375° F. Uncover and bake it about 15 minutes longer.
APPLE STUFFED PORK LOIN
This will be the star of any meal.
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped
8 sage leaves
2 cups thick-cut white bread, crusts removed and cubed
1 egg beaten
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 to 1 cup chicken broth, plus more if needed
1 (3 pound) pork loin roast, butterflied
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, apples and sage. Sauté until softened. Remove from the heat and gently stir in the bread, egg, butter and salt and pepper. Add the chicken broth gradually until everything is moistened. Let the stuffing mixture cool completely before putting it in the pork loin. Spoon the stuffing down the pork, horizontally, in a line. Roll the pork over the stuffing, jelly roll style, ending with the seam down and fat side up. Lightly score the fat, in a diamond pattern, with a sharp knife. Tightly tie the pork roast up with butcher’s twine, season it with more salt and pepper, and transfer to a roasting pan. Roast the pork in a preheated oven for about 90 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer registers 160 degrees F. Remove from the oven and let rest for 15 minutes before slicing. Garnish with apples and fresh herbs.
APPLE PIE (For a 9 inch pie)
Nothing better than a homemade apple pie!
Pastry for 9-inch Two-crust Pie
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Dash of salt
6 cups thinly sliced pared tart apples
2 Tablespoons butter
Heat oven to 425° F. Prepare pastry and put into pie pan. Stir together sugar, flour, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt; mix with apples. Turn into pastry-lined pie pan; dot with butter. Cover with top crust which has slits cut in it; seal and flute OR make the French Apple topping below. Cover edge with 2- to 3- inch strip of aluminum foil to prevent excessive browning; remove foil last 15 minutes of baking. Bake 40 to 50 minutes or until crust is brown and juice begins to bubble through slits in crust.
For FRENCH APPLE PIE:
Make as above except use this instead of top crust and omit butter for dotting on top :
1 cup flour
1/2 cup firm butter
1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)
Mix until crumbly. Put on top of apples in pie pan. Bake 50 minutes. Cover topping with aluminum foil the last 10 minutes of baking if top browns too quickly.
September 26, 2016
There are a lot of changes taking place, summer is turning to fall and I am changing the date for my Open House. I am holding it earlier this year so I can spend more time with my family and get my house back in order for the Holidays, both for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
People have often commented, “Your house is all ready for Christmas and it is only November.” However, it was ready for Open House, not for my family Christmas. The older I get the more energy it takes to both set up and take down for the Open House and be ready for Christmas. I am therefore moving it to October 19, 20, 21, and 22, with Open Hours the next week, October 26, 27, 28, and 29. We will still have all of our 60 different mixes, gift boxes, stocking stuffers, herbal vinegar, and the other things you have found at our Open House.
So mark your calendars and get ready for some early Christmas shopping. For more information open the attached file. Feel free to copy it and share the information with your friends.
See you soon, Donna
P.S. I am just emailing invitations, I am not mailing them out, so if you know of someone that was on the mailing list, please let them know about the change of date. Thank you.
May 20, 2015
Since I retired from the Midland Farmers’ Market I have decided to have some Saturdays open at the shop. I will be able to cut some fresh herbs right from the garden (you can’t get much fresher than that). This week I will have: Chives – both regular and garlic, Oregano, Lovage, French Tarragon, Applemint, Peppermint, Spearmint, and Lemon Balm. I will also have my 60 culinary mixes, vinegar, tea, gift boxes, blends, Gourmet Sea Salts, etc. The address is: 4613 Lund Drive Midland, MI. I hope to see you Saturday.
The Mexican dinner party was lots of fun. Here are the recipes I used.
BLACK BEAN SALSA
1 can black eyed peas
-1 can black beans
-1 can pinto beans
-2 cans shoepeg corn (11 oz. each); if you can’t find it, use a can of white and yellow corn
-2 oz can of chopped pimento
-1 medium onion (I used a red onion)
-1 cup chopped celery
-1 cup chopped green pepper (or red or yellow is fine too)
-Add all the beans and corn together, drain and rinse well. Then add the chopped pimento, onion, celery and pepper.
In a small saucepan bring the following ingredients to a boil:
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp pepper
-1 T water
-3/4 cup sugar
-3/4 cup cider vinegar
-1/2 cup vegetable oil
-Cool the sauce and then add it to the bean mixture. Stir well and refrigerate overnight. Serve with tortilla chips. Enjoy!!
SAMANTHA AND DONNA’S FRUIT SALSA
1 ½ cup coarsely chopped peaches
1 cup coarsely chopped honeydew
2 to 5 jalapeno peppers (depending on how hot you want it leave in seeds), finely chopped
1 ½ cups coarsely chopped fresh pineapple
½ cup chopped red bell pepper
2 tablespoons snipped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice
2 teaspoons sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
In a food processor, chop peaches, honeydew, peppers and pineapple. Put in a bowl and stir in remaining ingredients. Let set at least 1 hour. Serve with tortilla chips (Tostidos Gold by Doritos is especially good).
BLACK BEAN QUESADILLAS
1/2 cup Fiesta Black Bean Mix
1/3 cup boiling water
1/4 cup shredded Mexican cheese
1/4 cup shredded lettuce
Sour cream, salsa and cilantro to taste
Stir Mix and boiling water together. Let sit while you warm or lightly toast one tortilla in a fry pan. Spread black bean mixture on tortilla, top with cheese. Top with other tortilla and flip over so unheated tortilla is down in fry pan. Heat until cheese melts. Top with lettuce, sour cream, salsa and cilantro. Cut into 4 pieces.
WARM BEAN DIP:
1 – 16 ounce can refried beans
1 cup sour cream
1 cup Mexican cheese
1/2 cup Salsa (your favorite kind)
1 – 2 Tablespoon TACO SEASONING MIX
Put all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Heat until hot and bubbling and cheese is melted. Serve warm with tortilla chips.
KAREN’S SPANISH RICE
3 boxes of Near East Spanish Rice mix
Chicken broth instead of water
2 tablespoons butter
1 chopped onion
1 jar artichoke hearts (I usually cut in them in half)
1 small can (8 – 10 ounces) of red enchilada sauce
1 handful each frozen corn and peas
¾ cup to 1 cup medium salsa
1 cup to 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese or Mexican cheese
Prepare rice as per package instructions substitute chicken broth for the amount of water called for. Put cooked rice in 9 x 13 pan that has been sprayed (you might need something deeper). Sauté onion in butter, brown and set aside. Layer artichokes on top of rice. Drizzle enchilads sauce over artichokes. Add corn and peas and sautéd onions. Evenly distribute salsa and cover with cheese. Cover with sprayed foil. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes uncovering for last 10 to 15 minutes.
DELUXE CHICKEN ENCHILADAS Makes 8 enchiladas Total Time: About 1 ½ hours
2 whole chicken breasts
½ small onion
1 bay leaf
½ medium onion, chopped
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
4 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (1 cup)
1 (4 ounces) can green chilies
1 (13 ounces) can tomatillos, drained or 1-3/4 cups drained canned tomatoes
¼ cup cilantro leaves
¾ cup whipping cream
10 – 12 corn tortillas
4 ounces cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1 cup dairy sour cream
3 or 4 radishes, sliced
2 cups shredded lettuce
12 ripe olives
Place chicken breasts in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add water to cover, onion, bay leaf, peppercorns and salt to taste. Bring to a boil; reduce heat.
Cover and simmer 45 minutes or until tender. Cool chicken in broth. Drain, reserving broth for another use. Shred chicken with 2 forks or with your fingers.
Mix shredded chicken, chopped onion, Parmesan cheese and 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese. Taste and add salt if needed. Set aside.
In blender or food processor, combine green chilies, tomatillos or tomatoes, cilantro, whipping cream and egg. Blend until smooth. Add salt to taste.
Preheat oven to 350 deg F
Heat vegetable oil in a small skillet. With tongs, carefully place 1 tortilla at a time in hot oil. Hold in lard 3 to 5 seconds until softened. Quickly turn tortilla and soften other side, 3 to 5 seconds. Drain over skillet or on paper towels.
Place 1/8 of the chicken mixture on each tortilla, pressing the mixture to make it compact. Roll tightly and place seam-side down in a 12”x7-1/2” baking dish.
Pour chili-cream mixture over enchiladas and sprinkle evenly with 1 cup shredded Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese. Bake 20 minutes, or until heated through and bubbly.
For each serving, place 2 enchiladas on a plate and top with about 3 tablespoons sour cream. Place a mound of Guacamole over sour cream. Garnish with radish slices. Place ½ cup shredded lettuce next to enchiladas, if desired. Place a mound of Guacamole on lettuce. Top Guacamole with 1 tablespoon sour cream and 2 ripe olives if desired.
QUICK GUACAMOLE (The Herbal Home Companion by Theresa Loe)
2 ripe avocados, peeled and pit removed
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 – 4 Tablespoons chunky salsa
1 Tablespoon freshly chopped cilantro
salt to taste
Chop the avocados and place in a medium-sized bowl with the lemon juice. Use a fork to mash the avocados. Add the onion, salsa and cilantro. Mix well. Add salt to taste. Store covered in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 cup sugar
½ cup butter
¼ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons brandy
½ cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon mint (either peppermint or spearmint)
Dippers: strawberries, bananas, maraschino cherries, pineapple, pound cake, angel food cake, etc.
Combine all the ingredients, except dippers, in the crock pot. Cover and cook on High for 15 to 20 minutes; then turn to Low and cook, covered for 2 to 4 hours. Serve with dippers.