Ode to Autumn…and the fruit of Malus Domestica!!

By: tutticooks

Oct 13 2011

Category: Uncategorized

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Well, it’s that time of year. The air is getting crisper (and wetter) and farms are pulling in the last of their crops. One of those crops appearing in abundance is the fabulous apple.   This is a glorious little devil, full of flavor and variety—7,500 of them worldwide.
According to Wikipedia, Apples were brought to North America with colonists in the 17th century, and the first apple orchard on the North American continent was said to be near Boston in 1625. In the 20th century, irrigation projects in Washington state began and allowed the development of the multibillion dollar fruit industry, of which the apple is the leading species.[4]
Here in Washington, there are nine particular varieties that are grown. They include Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Fuji, Gala, Granny Smith, Braeburn, Honeycrisp, Crisp Pink, and Cameo.   And, oh by the way…did you know that the apple is actually a member of the ROSE family? Ahh, yes, we are very full of facts, here at Tutticooks blog…

And not only do they taste good, but these babies are good for you!! They’re credited with the prevention of Alzheimer’s, the lowering of cholesterol, lung, colon, breast and liver cancer prevention, diabetes management and weight loss. I got this from the Apple Growers of Washington State website—don’t believe me? You can look it up!

Yep, we love our apples. We slice them and eat them with cheese, press them into cider, cook them into applesauce for canning, and make them into apple butter (and seriously, if you’re listening and you know this, can you please contact me at the station and let me know exactly what that is? I don’t get the whole apple butter thing. Really. I’m not kidding.)

In my opinion, one of the most pleasant smells I know is baked apples with cinnamon and nutmeg. It’s the smell of home, the smell of fall. One simple and delicious way to prepare these little goodies is to core them, pack a little butter in the core and top with brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Bake at 375 degrees for thirty minutes and serve them up with a little vanilla ice cream. YUM! You’ve got a party on a plate right there.

Probably the most popular way to make apples is to bake them in a pie. It’s as Americana as it comes, right? You have your pastry crust, your crumble, your lattice top—they’re about as many different ways to make apple pies as there are apples! I think the keys to an excellent apple pie include a good crust (I’m not mad about crumble top myself) and how much butter you add to the brown sugar. Another secret tip I’ll share only with my listeners? I sauté the apples in a little brandy and butter before I bake them in the pie. The fruit is softer and more flavorful that way. If you are wondering, I recommend Calvados brandy. It’s an apple brandy that’s made in the lower Normandy region of France. You only need a little bit and it will be just what you need to take your pie to the next level of delicious!

On the savory side, a perfect pairing for apples is pork—pork chops, pork loin, pork roast. You can serve it with applesauce on the side, or as I like to do, roast the apples right in the pan. Then, when the time comes to make some gravy, include the apples in the mix. The sweetness of the fruit is a perfect counterpoint to the tenderness of the meat. Here’s another idea take a pork loin roast, slice it one-quarter inch thick all the way around, until it unrolls like a lolly pop and lays flat. You can also use a meat tenderizer to smooth it out (or ask your meat counter guy to do this for you). Then, sauté diced onions. Granny Smith apples and some spinach until the spinach is cooked through. Salt and pepper the flattened meat, then add the filling in a layer over it. Roll it up and secure it with twine and sear over medium heat. Then, put it in a 9x 13 pan and bake it at 375 degrees for twenty minutes, or until the meat thermometer registers one hundred and sixty. Take it out, cover with foil and let it rest for ten minutes. Slice it into medallions and serve with potatoes or roasted sweet potatoes. Your family won’t know what hit them—and be careful, because it’s so good, it’s like crack. Yes, I said it on the air…it’s like pork loin crack, people!

So, as we welcome the rain and the cooler temperatures, bemoaning the fact that our summer was about fifteen minutes long, let’s also take the time to appreciate all the bounty of the season, including one of our most beloved exports, the pomaceous fruit of the species Malus domestica…otherwise known as the apple.

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