Certain foods (like certain people) have unique and interesting reputations. Apples are a good example. Well-noted for “keeping the doctor away” and forever famed for causing temptation in the Garden of Eden, apples are rich in folklore and tradition. Remember Johnny Appleseed, the kind, yet eccentric humanitarian who wandered the frontier early in the 19th
century planting thousands of miles of apple orchards? Many are well-documented and still exist today!
Apples are harvested in autumn, in perfect time for cool-weather cooking and baking. Truth be told, apples create serious temptation when baked into crisps, stirred into pancake and muffin batter, roasted with fall vegetables, baked into casseroles, pureed into soups, or sautéed with aromatic spices. Far more than myth and lore, the ancient appeal of the tempting apple is downright reality!
Apples range in color, flavor and texture. Most can be eaten fresh and raw, but not all are good when it comes to cooking. These common varieties tend to hold up well in the kitchen: Gala, McIntosh, Honeycrisp, Jonathan, Golden Delicious, Winesap, Granny Smith, Pink Lady and Fuji.
Here are some common and not-so-common ways to honor the apple:
- Sauté apples and spices in a little butter. Try cinnamon, nutmeg and a pinch of cloves or allspice. Serve as a side dish with roast pork or chops, grilled or roast chicken, roast turkey or tempeh.
- Add sliced apples to a leafy green salad, like this one for Manchego, Apple and Almond Salad.
- Making pilaf this holiday season? Start with this idea for Apple Pilaf.
- Dip apple slices in nut butter such as toasted almond butter, sunflower seed butter or cashew nut butter.
- Make a vegetable and apple stir fry. Consider adding onions, celery, mushrooms and green apples. Serve over brown or wild rice, couscous, or quinoa.
- For a quick dessert, this Apple Cranberry Crisp is topped with granola and this Apple Ginger Crisp uses fresh ginger root.
- Raw apples make great desserts. Here’s an idea for Raw Apple Crisp.
- Add chopped apples to tuna or chicken salad. Here’s a recipe for Creamy Chicken Salad with Yogurt and Apples.
- Add chopped apples to just about any hot or cold cereal.
- This Thanksgiving, consider a Roast Turkey with Apples and Onions.
- This recipe for Brussels Sprouts with Apples and Shallots is a delicious, uncommon side dish sure to please a few or a crowd.
- Add apples to butternut squash soup, or garnish soup with thinly sliced apples. Here’s a recipe for Carrot, Apple and Ginger Soup with Cheese Crisps.
- Make Waldorf salad with chopped apples, celery, walnuts, raisins and your favorite mayonnaise. Garnish with a sprinkling of grated cheddar. Here is one of my favorite recipes for Kale Waldorf Salad.
- Add chopped apples to plain or flavored yogurt. Great topped with a few roasted pecans.
- Add chopped apples to pancakes, muffins and quick-breads.
- Bake apples, cut in half and serve with granola and/or frozen yogurt or ice cream for dessert. Try stuffing them with dried fruit and nuts like in this tasty recipe for Baked Apples Stuffed with Cranberries and Almonds.
- Enjoy roasted apples with this recipe for Roasted Parsnips and Apples.
- Make grilled cheese and sliced apple sandwiches or use a tortilla instead of toast and make Apple and Cheddar Whole Wheat Quesadillas.
- Here’s A Fresh Take on Apple Pie.
Got an appetite for apples? Have a favorite idea or recipe? Let me know!