This is a column from last year – I am gadding about on a field trip out of town. Have a great weekend. Go pick apples!
We almost always have a big bowl of green apples sitting on the kitchen counter. I tend to buy green apples, and that is the way I think of them, “green apples,” when I should be thinking “Granny Smith.” Granny Smith apples are popular for eating raw and also for baking in pies. Which is about the extent of my apple repertoire.
The smart folks at Saveur magazine have a more novel approach, apples for every dinner course; “An All-Apple Dinner.”
Apples are the harbinger of autumn and of school lunches and snacks gnawed after school while sitting at the kitchen table. I remember lolling the summers away in a neighbor’s back yard, where blowsy hydrangea blossoms wavered and the grass was covered with fragrant, rotting crabapples. That crabapple tree was a good height for climbing, too, always an added kid bonus. And there were grapevines, with lip-puckering green grapes. Eventually the grapes ripened into sweet purple orbs, which were perfect for spitting.
Apples remind me of brown-bagged lunches, with warm, wax paper-wrapped cheese sandwiches. They were an intrinsic part of the lunchroom smell: apples, old bananas, sour milk, vomit and the green sawdust the janitors used for sweeping up the floors.
Apples make me think of Jo March, scribbling in her cold New England attic, her inky fingers clutching apples as she nibbled away, scrawling her latest lurid tale. Apples bring knowledge and comfort, and at this time of year, and in these perilous times, there are plenty of reasons to eat them often.
There seem to be an equal number of apple dishes we can prepare as there are varieties of apples: apple sauce, apple butter, apple cake, apple pie, apple tart, apple cider, apple crisp, apple brown betty, caramel apples, apple turnovers, apple pancakes, apples and cheddar cheese… (Here are 80 apple recipes, all in one place: https://www.delish.com/cooking/g1968/easy-apple-recipes/ ) We discovered last night that Luke the wonder dog likes green apples. (He also likes iceberg lettuce, fresh asparagus, Roma tomatoes, green peppers and the sound of plastic-wrapped slices of American cheese.)
It’s a little early for the strolls through crunchy leaves, but the autumnal yen of eating crunchy apples can be indulged right now. You need to travel to your favorite farmers’ markets this weekend, and stock up on freshly picked treasures. Of course, it is always gilding the lily to do anything to an apple except wash it and take a bite. Even pies seem unnecessarily vulgar. Does an apple really need brown sugar, cinnamon and dabs of butter to taste better? Of course not! But any iteration of an apple is a good thing.
This Apple Crumble is easy peasy.
6 Golden Delicious or Braeburn apples, peeled, sliced into 1 inch pieces
4 tablespoons sugar
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoon lemon juice
Grated zest of one orange
2/3 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup uncooked oats
Preheat oven to 375°F
Mix apples, sugar, lemon juice and orange zest. In another bowl combine flour, oats, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Toss with butter. Combine with apple mixture in a buttered baking dish.
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before serving. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a nice big wodge of whipped cream. Yumsters. All of the taste of apple pie with no fragile or temperamental pie crust to contend with.
The Farmers’ Almanac has a handy-dandy chart for which apples are best suited to various dishes: sauces, cider, pie and baking. http://www.almanac.com/content/best-apples-baking
“And there never was an apple, in Adam’s opinion, that wasn’t worth the trouble you got into for eating it.”