Yay, it’s apple season! I picked up some lovely apples and pears at my area market to make this Apple Pear Crisp recipe. The fragrance as it cooked filled my kitchen and when I pulled it from the oven, I was overcome with memories.
I can still see a gaggle of teenage boys clustered around our kitchen waiting for my mom’s apple crisp to come out of the oven. You would have thought no one had ever made them something so wonderful! They often begged her to make it…and she was happy to comply.
My parents must have been magicians because they somehow figured out how to get my brother’s friends to rake all our leaves, cut our grass, clean out the chicken coop, mulch the gardens and so much more. For free! Mom’s homemade meals and desserts, like apple crisp, were part of the bargain.
Mom always made a point to cook with what ever was freshest, like asparagus in the spring and apples in the fall. Just like Mom did, right now, apples are part of our meal plan in a variety of dishes.
Know Your Apples:
- Keep the doctor away. Apples are high in fiber, potassium and the vitamins C and K. They also provide manganese, copper, and the vitamins A, E, B1, B2, and B6. Studies have linked the consumption of apples with a reduced risk of some cancers, cardiovascular disease, asthma, and diabetes.
- Eat the peel. It has half the fiber and many of the polyphenols of the apple, both of which promote heart health. The high soluble fiber in apples, has been found to help lower cholesterol. Polyphenols are linked to lower blood pressure and stroke risk.
- Consume fewer calories. The average apple is less than 100 calories and is high in fiber and water, which fills you up. Studies show that folks who ate apple slices at the beginning of a meal consumed on average 200 fewer calories.
- Counter or fridge? Apples stored on your counter top will last 5-7 days. If you store apples in the refrigerator you may loose a little crispness but they will last up to 1-2 months. Place them in the crisper drawer and away from produce. Apples emit ethylene, which can cause other fruits and vegetables to spoil.
- Baking Soda beats pesticides. Washing your apples with water will remove dirt and bacteria however this does not take care of any residue from pesticides. Fill your kitchen sink with water and add 4 tablespoons of baking soda and clean the apples.
- Tart and sweet. Combine tart and sweet apples when baking pies for a more complex flavor. Make sure they are crisp varieties so they don’t become applesauce pie! Try Granny Smith, Ginger Gold, Golden Delicious, Fuji, Jazz, Jonagold, Rome and Pink Lady varieties.
- Fill it up. As the apples cook in your pie they will soften and reduce in size, so don’t be afraid to use plenty. Six cups per pie is about standard and that means using about 8 average sized apples.
- Sweet and soft is best. Once again, when making applesauce, use a variety of apples for the best flavor. All varieties can be used for applesauce, but softer types will cook down quicker. Check out this listing of apple varieties and their features.
- Apple cider or apple juice. They are the same… only they are not. Both are juice from apples, but the process is a bit different. Cider is raw juice pressed from mashed apples. It is perishable, and will ferment if left unrefrigerated. Apple juice has been filtered and often has been pasteurized to extend it’s shelf life. You can substitute one for the other but make sure your apple juice doesn’t have added sugars or it may change the flavor of your dish.