"For I have had too much
Of apple-picking: I am overtired
Of the great harvest I myself desired.
There were ten thousand thousand fruit to touch,
Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall."
After Apple-Picking by Robert Frost
Fall season and it is apple picking time, or is it? Within the four states of Utah, Colorado, Idaho and Montana, there are twenty-four varieties of apples grown. During the months of late July through October, a variety may be upon its boughs, waiting to be plucked, eaten, or simply fall to the ground below. Utah State University offers online guides to Intermountain Tree Fruit Production, and apples can be found at:
“An apple a day” might keep the doctor away, but eat too many, and you might have to see that same doctor. An average sized apple has about twenty five grams of carbs. For diabetics, an average serving of carbs is 15 grams, so blood sugar may spike. It also contains about 90 calories, and can contribute to weight gain; eat 10 apples, that is 900 calories! Yes, apples are very nutritious, but with any food, moderation should be maintained. Apples are acidic in nature, so can cause gastric distress, and eat away at tooth enamel. So an apple a day, maybe two, but don’t be a little piggy with one stuffed in your mouth.
What to do with so many harvested apples? Eat, bake, cook, give away, and store. If storing, sort the apples by size and make sure to look for bruising or any damage. That one bad apple will destroy the lot. Apples emit ethylene gas which accelerates ripening. Store other fruits and vegetables away from the apple bins, as the gas will accelerate their ripening as well. If apples are stored in plastic bags, be sure to poke a few holes in them, so the gas can filter out. Apples will stay fresh in the refrigerator, and longer if stored at 30-32F. Like with other fruits, they can be thinly sliced, dehydrated, placed in airtight bags or containers. On a pantry shelf, six months is the life span; up to a year in the freezer. Hey, pretty much like the dehydrated tomatoes I wrote about in my last article, and they are a fruit.
Samhain, All Hallows Eve or Halloween is on a Saturday this year, there will be a full moon, and the clocks need to fall back one hour. One tradition, apple bobbing, dates back to the Roman invasion of Britain (beginning in ADE 43, under Emperor Claudius, and essentially completed by ADE 87). In Roman culture, the apple tree was scared to Pomona, the Goddess of Plenty. This was shared with the Celts, and became part of their traditional celebration.
The object of the “game” was young, unmarried people try to bite into an apple floating in water, or hanging from a string on a line. The first person to bite into the apple would be the next one allowed to marry. In Ireland, a maiden would place the apple, she bobbed, under her pillow and dream of her future sweetheart.
Of course, cooking and baking with apples gives us all sorts of wonderful treats to enjoy. Apple dumplings, fritters, strudel, donuts, pies and all sorts of cakes; apples are a wonderland! Which leads me into an autumn recipe for Apple Walnut Coffee Cake. This is not a traditional coffee cake, with a streusel topping. It is actually an upside down style of cake, with the streusel on the bottom.
Now I have found that most baking recipes, involving apples, typically will list the use of the Granny Smith. They are very tart, yet crisp and hold their shape when cooked or baked. An average Granny has 24 grams of carbs and about 100 calories; eating them will make your face pucker, just like green tomatoes will.
The key for baking is to use a diverse variety of apples for a mix of textures and flavors: sweet, tart, crisp, and soft. Try mixing Honeycrisp or Braeburn with Granny Smith if you prefer your baked goods more tart, or for a sweeter experience, go with Gala or Fuji. Not sure which combo is the best? Experiment! Make an adventure of it, sort of like a treasure hunt.
…and now the recipe for Apple Walnut Coffee Cake, or what my aka for it is, Upside Down Apple Walnut Coffee Cake. I used Braeburn and Granny Smith apples to balance with the brown sugar.
Apple Walnut Coffee Cake
(Autumn Earthsong at: https://autumnearthsong.com/2011/08/31/mabon-recipes/)
2 ½ cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ cup brown sugar, packed
¾ cup butter, softened
1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt
¾ cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
2 apples, cored, peeled and chopped
Combine flour, brown sugar, and butter with a fork until crumbly; stir in nuts. Divide mixture in half. Press one half into the bottom of a buttered 9 ½” springform baking pan to form crust; set aside. Add baking soda, cinnamon and salt to remaining crumb mixture; mix well. Make a well in the center; set aside. Beat egg with sour cream and vanilla in a small bowl until smooth; add to flour mixture, stirring until just combined. Fold in apples; spread batter evenly over crust.
Bake at 375* for one hour and 20 minutes or until cake tests done; cool in pan on a wire rack.
Makes 12 servings.
Note: Refrigerate leftovers, or store in airtight container in a cool place. This is a very moist cake, and constant exposure to air will cause mold.