Fall is Recycla’s favorite time of year. She lives in Virginia, where this season is usually glorious — cool days and chilly nights, vibrant foliage, the smell of woodsmoke, soup simmering on the stove. And, of course, APPLES.
Apples are Recycla’s favorite fruit and she and her family eat them in some form nearly every day. Virginia is a major producer of applesand there are dozens of orchards within a short driving distance — including one orchard that is just 10 minutes away — so the family has a great many local options. These orchards are already producing tons of apples, which are for sale for less than a dollar a pound.
Some of the family’s favorite types of apples are Jonagold, Mcintosh, Fuji, Gala, Braeburn, Gingergold, Winesap, and wee Lady apples, which are just the perfect size for a child’s hand. Recycla does not usually buy Red Delicious or Golden Delicious apples, as the flavor has been bred out of them in favor of durability during shipping. Consequently, these are not apples that taste very good when eaten fresh, although they’re fine for cooking.
Here are just some of the ways the family eats apples on a regular basis:
- cooked apples – just chop some apples and toss into a pot or crockpot, add a little water and cinnamon, and cook the apples to the consistency you like
- apple pie
- apples and cheese slices — a yummy after-school snack
- apples with peanut butter — another yummy snack
- apple oatmeal muffins
- chopped apples served on a bed of lettuce with a little balsamic vinaigrette sprinkled on
- pita bread stuffed with thinly-sliced apples, cheese, and sliced turkey
- and of course, just plain apples with nothing else
Because Recycla and her family love apples so much, they’re actually a bit picky about them: Apples are among the worst offenders for pesticide contamination, so Recycla only buys organic apples. Recycla will not buy apples from Chile or New Zealand or other countries, because that’s just ridiculous when there are so many other options available domestically.
In the green world, there has been much debate in recent years about eating organically vs. eating locally. As Recycla just mentioned, conventional apples contain too many pesticides, but what if your local orchards are not organic? Which is the best option to go with? This is an issue that Recycla still wrestles with. Ultimately, it probably comes down to personal choice: Which issue is more important to you?
In celebration of apples, here is a recipe that everyone should try at least once in their lives:
Maple Baked Apples
(Real Simple, December 2005)
4 large apples
1/4 cup golden raisins
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup (about 2 ounces) walnut pieces
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
Ice cream (optional)
Heat oven to 400° F.Using a knife, remove the cores.Also, trim about a 1/2-inch slice from the bottom of each apple, so they sit flat.
Place the apples in an 8-9″ baking dish.
Drizzle with the syrup.
Divide the walnuts and raisins among the apples, filling the cavities, and place any extra in the dish.
Dot the apples with the butter.
Bake until tender, 40 to 50 minutes.Pour the liquid from the baking dish into a skillet.
Bring to a boil over medium heat.
Cook until it thickens slightly, 2 to 3 minutes.
Spoon the sauce over the warm apples and serve with the ice cream, if desired.
Tip: Gala and Rome Beauty apples are ideal for baking because they retain their shape.
Tell the Eco Women: What is your favorite way to eat apples?