Thursday, October 3, 2013

What do you know about Apples?



It's Apple Season 

What do you know about Apples? 



Are they a fruit or a vegetable?
Apples are a fruit. They are part of the Rose family, along with pears and cherries.
How do they grow?
Apples grow on trees. Trees grow for at least five years before they start to produce fruit.
Where do they grow?
Apples are grown everywhere throughout the US. Washington State is the top producer in the country.
When are they in season?
Apples are harvested from late September to early November, but can be stored until April.
What should you look for?
Look for apples that are firm and not bruised.
How do you store them?
When freshly picked, apples can be stored for several months. If one apple has been bruised, keep it away from the rest to stop the others going bad. They are best kept in the fridge.
How can you eat them?
Apples are often eaten raw, just as they are, or chopped up and added to sweet or savory salads. They’re also delicious cooked in desserts such as apple pies and crumbles, or made into homemade apple sauce to serve with roast pork.
Why are they good for you?
Apples are full of goodness. The skin contains lots of vitamins and minerals and almost one-third of the fiber of the entire apple. Fiber is very important in our diets because it keeps our digestive system healthy and helps keep us feeling full, so we don’t eat too much.
Did you know?
Some apple trees will grow to more than 40 feet high and live more than 100 years. Red Delicious are the most widely grown variety of apple in the US.
The US’s longest living apple tree was reportedly planted in 1647 by Peter Stuyvesant in his Manhattan orchard and was still bearing fruit when a derailed train struck it in 1866.
Seeing an apple falling off a tree inspired Sir Isaac Newton to develop his theory of gravity.
Always check the label on your
fruit or veg and remember, the closer it was grown to home, the fresher and tastier it will be!
*Info from the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation

Here's a quick recipe for a fancy and quick Apple Pie or Tart



Directions:

Cut peel and slice about 6 apples.  I like Granny Smith because they stay crisp and tart but you can use MacIntosh or Mutsu or whatever you like but the texture will change and so will the taste.

Once they are sliced drop them into a bowl with water and the juice of a lemon.  This will prevent them from browning.

When you have them all sliced and dipped in the lemon water you can then drain the water and add about a teaspoon of Cornstarch to the sliced apples and mix until they are all coated.   This will thicken up the juices from the apples as they bake.   Add a tablespoon of cinnamon.  I like cinnamon but you can add to taste.   Add a couple of tablespoons of sugar.  Brown sugar works well but you can certainly use any combinations of sugars.   Add a pinch of salt to bring out the sweetness if you like.    

Optional:  You can add cranberries or grated ginger or add more spices like cardamom or cloves or even add a bit of brandy to flavour the apples.   

If your apples are on the juicy side I would recommend sauteeing them a bit to evaporate the juices and let the cornstarch thicken the juices from the apples.

Once your mixture is ready you can either pour it into a store bought pie crust, or make your own pie crust or another great idea is to get Almond Paste and roll it out and use it as a pie crust.  *(this idea is from Brian Boytano the skater) ..   This pie pictured was made with a store bought pie crust and I crumbled the almond paste on top.   * The Almond Paste is very sweet so add less sugar to your apple mixture.    Bake in the oven at 350 degrees until golden brown.


A good idea is to get kids involved and interested in Apples by visiting a Pick Your Own Farm and getting them involved in the choosing of the apples and then you can also have them help out in the kitchen in making the Pie recipe above.   Kids will eat better if they feel they are part of the process and respect food more when they know where it comes from and feel like they are contributing to the dinner process.


Here are a couple of places in Ontario where you can go apple picking

  • Chudleigh's Apple Farm - apples, pumpkins
    9528 Highway 25, Milton, ON. Phone: 905-878-2725. 
    Farm is located at 9528 Highway 25, 3 km north of Highway 401. Open: July - Oct. daily 10 am to 5 pm; Nov.- Dec. (Friday, Saturday, & Sun.) 10 am to 5 pm. Closed Jan - Apr. Located in Milton, Ontario, Canada, about 30 minutes west of Toronto. Every year, in late summer and fall, families come to pick their own apples, and enjoy the farm-themed entertainment area.
  • Green Acres Farm - Apples
    Heritage Road, Norval, ON. Phone: 905-459-4458. From Highway 401, go north on Mississauga Road to Steeles Ave. Turn west to Heritage Road. Drive north to 9266 Heritage Road. Open: daily 9 am to 5 pm. 

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