By Edith Morgan
It’s apple-picking time, and our local orchards are full of Worcester County apple pickers, whole families, filling bags with fragrant, perfect apples! Not since Eve succumbed to the temptation of the serpent and got Adam to take a bite of that fatal apple, has this fruit played such an important part in our lives.
When you stop to give it some thought, apples play a big part in many areas of our lives: in our language (“You are the apple of my eye!”); in our folk lore (“An apple a day keeps the doctor away!”) and in the vernacular – “As American as apple pie,” “Motherhood and apple pie,” to name but a few of the most common.
Whether we stop to think about it, we use apples in so many ways: apple sauce for babies, apple cider vinegar, apple butter to spread on our bread, apple juice, apple cider and hard cider to drink. And a close examination of the various juice drinks will show you that apple juice is added to all the other juices (probably because it is cheaper than the other fruits mentioned on the label).
We are very fortunate to have so many choices in our supermarkets: Macintoshes, Galas, yellow and red delicious, Green Granny Smiths and innumerable other varieties. Some tiny and almost round, others large and more oval. And with Halloween just around the corner, it will be “apple bobbing time“ soon. Socially distanced, of course …
The apple is infinitely versatile, and can be used in breads, pies, cakes, cupcakes or just wrapped in pie crust and baked. Fancy dishes like apple strudel are around most of the year, and of course caramel apples make their yearly appearance this time of year. Apple-filled puff pastries are among my favorites. And apples get along with nearly every other kind of fruit, blending in or as fillers.
Apples are enhanced with cinnamon, honey, and nutmeg, or any other spices you favor.
I like to experiment with the different kinds of apple, as each variety has its own flavor, sweetness and reaction to heat: some disintegrate and are great for apple sauce, others stay firm and crisp even when baked. There is an apple for everything you may want to cook!
One of my own favorite quick snacks? A nuked baked apple! Just clean out the apple core, put a mixture of honey, a bit of lemon juice, some cinnamon into the cavity, and microwave it for 3 to 5 minutes – the time depends on the type of apple you are using. You might want to top it off with a bit of whipped cream or vanilla ice-cream.