Apple time

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:

  • applesauce
  • 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)


Heat oven to 400° F.Using a knife, remove the cores.

Also, trim about a 1/2-inch slice from the bottom of each apple, so they sit flat.

Place the apples in an 8-9″ baking dish.
Drizzle with the syrup.
Divide the walnuts and raisins among the apples, filling the cavities, and place any extra in the dish.
Dot the apples with the butter.
Bake until tender, 40 to 50 minutes.Pour the liquid from the baking dish into a skillet.
Bring to a boil over medium heat.
Cook until it thickens slightly, 2 to 3 minutes.
Spoon the sauce over the warm apples and serve with the ice cream, if desired.

Tip: Gala and Rome Beauty apples are ideal for baking because they retain their shape.

Photos courtesy of Google Images.

6 thoughts on “Apple time

  1. Do they have Honeycrisp apples where you live? If so, I highly recommend trying them! I’m not sure where they are grown or how eco~friendly it is to buy them but they are, hands down, the best apples I’ve ever eaten in my life!! Crunchy and sweet ~ a perfect combination…. MMMMMMMM!!!:)

  2. Local apples are delicious (but not Red Delicious – blech). One year we did a taste test in mid-winter with all the apples (non-local). The winner was a New Zealand Braeburn. I have NEVER had such a delicious apple in my life. Since then I’ve rarely seen non-domestic Braeburns, although I keep hoping.

    I’m closer to New York State than Washington State and still can’t figure out why I never see NY apples down here in Virginia.

  3. Oh yum! I hear you about the conundrum–buy local or buy organic? in the fall we go to a local orchard and pick away. I know they use pesticides, but we live 3 miles from this place and it’s a tradition to pick together & then go home and bake pies, sauce and bread with our bounty.

    The rest of the year? If organic is available, I buy that. Otherwise, I buy locally grown. Very tough call, though.

  4. I love apples and have an organic one every day. I couldn’t agree more with Amy Y – Honeycrisp apples are fantastic and so are Pink Lady apples.

    As a matter of fact, I’m making a batch of apple sauce for Little One today so I can have cubes of it frozen for when I need it.

    Jen, your Maple Baked Apples sound so good – perfect for eating on a cool, fall day…

  5. Aa student came in this morning with her healthy snack, smacked her lips, and said, “Best. Apple. Ever.” It was a honeycrisp. I love that a 9 yr old can consider an apple to be a wonderful snack food!

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