Apples a Day…
October is National Apple Month to promote the sales of apples and honor the people involved in getting them from the farm to our homes. Apples are just part of the celebration of autumn along with peppers, pumpkins, root vegetables, shell beans, grapes and persimmons – all fresh picked and available at your local farmers’ market.
Of the 7500 varieties of apples grown in temperate zones throughout the world, only 15 to 20 are commercially significant in the United States. The U.S. is one of the world’s top apple producers. The five most popular apples in the United States are Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Gala, Fuji and Granny Smith. Be on the look out for some heirloom varieties like Thompkins King, Arkansas Blacks, Johnathan and Mutsu.
Most (maybe all) apples are suited for eating out of hand, with flavors from sweet to spicy tart. Rome Beauty, Granny Smith and Pippins are good baking apples because they hold their shape; Golden Delicious are excellent for applesauce since they do not discolor as quickly as some of the others.
All About Apples:
*Apples ripen 8 to 10 times faster at room temperature than if they are refrigerated.
*Most of an apple’s nutrients are concentrated in and just under the skin, so eat unpeeled if possible.
*A 9-inch pie requires 3 to 4 medium sized apples (about one and a half pounds).
*25 per cent of an apple’s volume is air. That’s why they float!
*Because apples require a 3-month dormant period during their growing cycle, northern regions of the nation and neighboring parts of Canada are considered ideal apple country.
Enjoy and see you at the market!
The Orinda market is open every Saturday from 9 am to 1 pm on Orinda Way in front of Rite Aid and the Community Park. For more information visit www.cccfm.org or call (925) 431-8361.
Cast Iron Apple Crisp
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in an 8-inch cast iron skillet. Add 4 to 5 Granny Smith apples (peeled and sliced) and a pinch of salt, and cook 3 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 2 tablespoons cornstarch, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Remove from heat.
For the crumb topping mix three quarter cup flour, one half cup brown sugar, one quarter cup white sugar, one half teaspoon EACH cinnamon and nutmeg and one quarter teaspoon salt. Coarsely cut in one half cup butter using a pastry blender or two knives.
Cover apple filling in the skillet evenly with the crumb topping. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 20 to 30 minutes until brown.
Serves 4 to 6.