When the month of September arrives, one of the first things I think about is apples. I always try to schedule a September visit with my western North Carolina family to take advantage of the delicious mountain apples.
Apples are easily one of, if not the most, popular of all the fruits; and are available all-year. Apples are a great source of vitamin C, potassium, and fiber.
Apples are also very versatile. They can be enjoyed fresh as a snack, in a salad, as an ingredient in a side dish, in a jam or jelly, as a dessert, or in a main dish.
Some apples can be eaten both fresh and used for baking. It is important to select the best apple for your recipes, as some apples will not hold up well in baked dishes. Apple varieties such as, Braeburn, Fuji, Golden Delicious, McIntosh and Granny Smith are some apple options to use for both eating fresh or baking.
When selecting apples, be sure to look for those that are firm, and do not have soft spots, bruises or broken skin. Once apples are peeled, they tend to turn brown fairly quickly. To eliminate this problem, you can dip the cup pieces in lemon or orange juice and store in the refrigerator.
Here are a few apple recipes to try. Enjoy!
Sources: USDA: Snap-Ed Connection; Food Hero, Oregon State University; NCDA&CS Markets Division
German Apple Cake
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 cups apples – peeled, cored and diced
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour one 9×13 inch cake pan.
In a mixing bowl; beat oil and eggs with an electric mixer until creamy. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat well.
Combine the flour salt, baking soda, and ground cinnamon together in a bowl. Slowly add this mixture to the egg mixture and mix until combined. The batter will be very thick. Fold in the apples by hand using a wooden spoon. Spread batter into the prepared pan.
Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 45 minutes or until cake tests done. Let cake cool on a wire rack. Once cake is cool serve with a dusting of confectioners’ sugar or with a Cream Cheese Frosting.
Caramel Sauce Glaze
1/2 cup butter
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. cream
Bring butter, brown sugar and cream to a boil, then boil 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add 1/2 tsp. vanilla. Let cool just slightly before pouring over warm cake.
Apple Blue Cheese Spread with Pecans
8 oz. cream cheese
½ cup sour cream
2 cups finely chopped apples
¼ cup crumbled blue cheese
¼ cup chopped red onions
¼ cup chopped pecans
Beat cream cheese spread and sour cream in medium bowl until well blended. Add apples, blue cheese, onions and pecans; mix well. Cover and refrigerate at least two hours. Serve with favorite crackers.
Source: Toni Gaskill of Greenville, 2007 N.C. State Fair first-place winner; North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services; NC Apple Growers Association
Ingredients for Poppy Seed Honey Dressing …
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup poppy seeds (or less according to preference)
1/3 cup honey
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Ingredients for Salad …
1 medium cabbage, cored, finely shredded
2 large carrots, peeled, julienne
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup finely minced parsley leaves, optional
4 Fuji apples, peeled, cored, julienne
Prepare the Poppy Seed Dressing. In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients together until well blended. Set aside.
Prepare the salad. In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, carrots, scallions, parsley, and apples. Pour in the reserved dressing and toss until well blended. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving, mixing the salad at least once to evenly distribute the dressing.
Source: Recipe courtesy of Wolfgang Puck
Sharon N. English is the Extension agent for Family & Consumer Science at the Scotland County Center.