Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Leader Enterprise - Oct 3, 2012 - Apples



In years past, apples have been awarded the 'most affordable' fruit title, but this year's out-of-the-ordinary weather has brought a big wormy bite out of apple crop. I've read that some orchards only have 3-4% of their normal crops. How devestating! We all know that means higher prices this year, so enjoy every crisp bite of every apple you get this fall. Be sure to stock up when they're on sale.



I thought it fitting to get your juices (or shall we say cider?) flowing about the most popular fruit in America. The Economic Research Service of the U. S. Depart.of Agriculture estimates Americans, in years past,have averaged the equivalent of about 47 pounds of apples a year. According to a 2010 report by U.S.International Trade Commission, the traditional Red Delicious still reigns as the most eaten variety, but Gala, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, and Fuji are gaining steam.


Select apples that are firm and bruise free. Store in refrigerator to slow ripening and keep the flavor. Chilled properly, they should last about 90 days. When I was a kid, we always wrapped apples separately in newspaper and stored them in a horse tank in our cool basement. That way, when one apple went bad, the ones around it were protected. There's another saying with much truth "One Bad Apple Spoils the Bunch". I know that refers to many other things besides the fruit itself.


Apples are thought to help reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, type 2 diabetes and asthma. No wonder they say "An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away"!


If you’ve ever bought sliced apples at the grocery store you may have noticed they take much longer to brown than the fruit you bite into. Vitamin C is added to the apples to keep them from browning which may leave a slightly noticeable pasty texture. Did you know you can make your own "already sliced" apples to pack in lunches? Toss the apples in a mixture of lemon-lime soda for about 10 minutes then drain. Store in snack-sized ziploc bags and squeeze out all the air. This will prevent the apple slices from browning. You can also dip them in pineapple juice first.
I think I've shared this apple dumpling recipe before, but some things are just worth sharing again.I've made these for over 100 at a time, and they go quickly. Definitely a family favorite apple recipe.
SIMPLE APPLE DUMPLINGS
4 Granny Smith, or any favorite baking apple


2-8 ozs. pkgs. (reduced-fat) refrigerated crescent rolls

1 stick butter (I cut back from 2 in original recipe)

1 c. sugar (or Splenda)
1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1-12 ozs.can (diet) Mt. Dew soda or 7-Up

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 9" X 13" baking dish. Peel and quarter apples. Separate crescent rolls; roll up apples in crescent rolls from big end to little end. Place in prepared pan.In small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon. In saucepan melt butter add sugar/cinnamon mixture. Pour mixture over the apples, then pour the Mt. Dew around all the dumplings.  Bake 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until apples are tender. Serve warm with ice cream or milk Tip:I cover the pan with foil after 30 minutes as the rolls tend to brown too much after that length of time in the oven.

BAKED ACORN SQUASH WITH CINNAMON APPLES
2-3 acorn squash
1/2 c. packed light brown sugar
(I used 1/4 c.brown sugar splenda)
1/4 c. butter,melted
1 Tb. all purpose flour
1 tsp. salt 
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
(I used 1-1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice)
2 - 3 lg. apples - cored and chopped (unpeeled)

Preheat oven to 350. In small bowl, stir together brown sugar, butter, flour, salt, cinnamon and allspice. Wash and halve the squash. Clean out the seeds and 'stringy stuff' and arrange in ungreased 9" X 13" baking dish. Fill the 'holes' with chopped apple, then drizzle the sugar mixture on top. The recipe didn't call for it, but I added about 1/2 c.water, or more, to the pan so it would steam the squash as it bakes. Cover dish with foil. Bake 60-70 (less time if the squash are small) minutes or until squash is tender.

EASY APPLE DIP

1–8 oz. pkg.cream cheese (softened)
3/4 c. packed brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Mix ingredients together with electric mixer until fluffy. Serve with apples. Enjoy! This would make a great after school snack.

My blogging buddy Lark of Lark's Country Heart recently shared this awesome recipe. She goes to their local high school every week and helps the kids make something new.I fell in love when I saw her photo of this easy treat.

EASY CINNAMON BAKED APPLES
For 6 Apples: Cream1 stick butter, 1 C.Brown Sugar, 1/2 tsp.Vanilla. Core each apple leaving bottom intact. Fill with creamed sugar mixture. Then divide 1/4 c. red hot candies evenly on top. Place in baking dish pour 1 c.apple cider in bottom of dish. Bake uncovered at 375 for 45 minutes.