Fall is Recycla’s favorite season. She lives in Virginia, where fall is usually glorious — cool days and chilly nights, glorious foliage, the smell of woodsmoke, soup simmering on the stove. And, of course, APPLES.
Apples are Recycla’s favorite fruit and she and her family eat them every day. Virginia is a major producer of apples and there are literally dozens of orchards within a two hour radius, so the family has a great many local options every fall. Some of the family’s favorite types of apples are Jonagold, Mcintosh, Fuji, Gala, Braeburn, Gingergold, Winesap, and wee Lady apples, which are just the perfect size for a child’s hand. Recycla does not usually buy Red Delicious or Golden Delicious apples, as the flavor has been bred out of them in favor of durability during shipping. Consequently, these are not apples that taste very good when eaten fresh, although they’re fine for cooking.
Here are just some of the ways the family eats apples on a regular basis:
- cooked apples
- apple pie
- apples and cheese slices — a yummy after-school snack
- apples with peanut butter — another yummy snack
- apple oatmeal muffins
- chopped apples served on a bed of lettuce with a little balsamic vinaigrette sprinkled on
- pita bread stuffed with thinly-sliced apples, cheese, and sliced turkey
- and of course, just plain apples with nothing else
Because Recycla and her family love apples so much, they’re actually a bit picky about them:
- Apples are among the worst offenders for pesticide contamination, so Recycla only buys organic apples
- Recycla will not buy apples from Chile or New Zealand or other countries, because that’s just ridiculous when there are so many other options available domestically.
In the green world, there has been much debate in recent years about eating organically vs. eating locally. As Recycla just mentioned, conventional apples contain too many pesticides, but what if your local orchards are not organic? Which is the best option to go with? This is an issue that Recycla still wrestles with. Ultimately, it probably comes down to personal choice: Which issue is more important to you?
In a couple of weeks, Recycla’s family will go to a local orchard and get lots and lots of apples, which Recycla will then turn into pies, muffins, applesauce, and more. Her house will smell of cinnamon and other spices for days. It will be bliss.
In anticipation of that blissful week, here is a recipe that everyone should try at least once in their lives:
Maple Baked Apples
(Real Simple, December 2005)
4 large apples
1/4 cup golden raisins
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup (about 2 ounces) walnut pieces
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
Ice cream (optional)
Also, trim about a 1/2-inch slice from the bottom of each apple, so they sit flat.
Tip: Gala and Rome Beauty apples are ideal for baking because they retain their shape.
Photos courtesy of Google Images.