Fall has arrived and that means apple picking season. Many of you probably have your favorite orchard to visit, or can easily find one not too far from home. Now that you have decided to go...what kind of apples shall you get? I love this visual guide to apples as a starting point. It is always wise to speak to the growers to find out what they have at peak season when you visit their orchard to get the best selections.
So you fiound the good apples, you buy a bag or two, and get home. Maybe even enjoy an apple on the ride home. Delicious, crunchy, fresh from the tree. But what about the other 40 pounds sitting on the kitchen floor? Sure there is apple pie, crisp, sauce and butter. A few for the lunchbox. But how many desserts can you eat? (Don't answer that)
I would like to introduce you to some savory ideas for using those apples. When doing a cheese plate, I find the addition of a chutney is always a nice touch. Make some apple chutney to store away for the holidays or give as hostess gifts. Add some pear to it, for a sweeter twist. Grilled cheese gets a sweet little kick by adding a few thin slices of apple to it. Squash soups pair really well with apple too. Some bacon or blue cheese also adds a nice depth of flavor to your pumpkin soups, or chopped apple tossed with some chile powder to garnish your next bowl of soup.
Salads are a good place to add apples for a sweet crunch or tart bite. Try a kale and apple salad, beets and apples, or even an eggplant and quinoa apple salad.
Apple and pork are perfect partners - think "pork chops and apple sauce", but adding a little calvados and cream, or five spice powder to your cooking apples is a nice way to dress things up. Red cabbage does well with an apple cut in, and apples add a nice moistness to your stuffings, especially with some pork sausage in it! Cinnamon apple cranberry sauce would be yummy on a potato pancake, or apples and onions roasted with thyme next to your roasted chicken. Even apples and shortribs on a cold fall evening can be delicious.
So enjoy your pies and cobblers, but consider apples for all courses of your meal. Low in calories, sodium, cholesterol and fat, high in fiber and a good source of vitamin C, maybe an apple a day couldn't hurt!