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Canning JarsIn years past, almost every woman in America canned or dried garden produce. Some of us still do today. With the advent of bigger and better freezers, more people have opted to freeze fruits and vegetables. You can still get great information about canning and freezing from your County Extension office in your city or town. Or, you can go to the library and find books about canning safety and recipes to use with a pressure cooker or water-bath canner.

Most fruits and vegetables can be blanched briefly in hot water and then put into freezer bags. Label each bag with the contents and the date it was frozen. Freezer bags can be stacked easily or put into cartons in the freezer.

Herbs can also be frozen. Wash them well, pack in small quantities, and freeze them as flat as you can.  You can usually break off a bit as you need it. Frozen herbs are best used in foods that will be cooked.


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Golden DeliciousApples should be firm to the touch, free of bruising and punctures. They also should be relatively shiny. Dull-skinned apples are not as fresh and will not be crisp. 

Store apples in the refrigerator, unless the apples will be eaten within 24 hours. In that case, they may be placed in a fruit bowl or basket and stored at room temperature. 

Peel and/or slice apples just before serving since they will brown. You can also mix one part lemon or lime juice and three parts water and dip apple slices into the mixture. You can also keep apples fresh in a salad by adding them last and pouring orange juice or wine into the fruit bowl.


Red DeliciousWhen I was little, I wasn’t sure my mother meant fried, apple pies or fried-apple pies, but either is great. I think the fried-apple pies are tastier, but if you’re in a hurry, warm applesauce is a great substitute. Also, you may use pie dough for the pies, but biscuit dough makes a more tender crust.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Biscuit dough (see recipe below)
  • Fried apples (see previous recipe)
  • Oil

Biscuit Dough:

  • 2/3 cup butter or margarine
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup milk

Preparation: Put the dry ingredients into a bowl. Grate the butter or margarine into the flour mixture with a cheese grater. (Clean by using some of the flour to remove the butter clinging to the grater.) Mix in the milk and stir only until moistened. 

Roll out dough onto a floured board to one-half inch thickness. Cut into circles or squares, whichever is easier for you. Put 1/4 cup of fried apples (or applesauce) onto the middle of the circle or square. Moisten the edges of the dough and fold over the apples. (Fold the squares diagonally to form triangles.) Using a fork, press the dough edges together.

Heat a half-inch of oil in a small iron skillet. Using a spatula or egg turner, lower a pie into the oil. Brown on each side.  (It will take longer for the first pie to cook than subsequent ones because the oil will be hotter for them.  As the oil heats, turn the heat down a bit, making sure your are maintaining an even temperature.)  Drain the pies on paper towels and enjoy.

[I have made these with nearly any kind of apple available, even red delicious apples, which are supposed to only be used for eating out of hand. Almost any apple works.]


Empire AppleEveryone has a favorite apple recipe. This one is mine. Coming from Tennessee, my mother loved pork (pork chops, fried ham, fried slices of pork loin).  She always fried up a pan of apples to eat with the pork.  I also fry apples to serve with pork or potato pancakes.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 apples
  • 3 Tbls. butter
  • Salt to taste, optional

Preparation: You can peel the apples if you wish. Core the apples and slice thinly. Melt the butter in a small iron skillet.  Put the apples in and cook over low to medium heat, covered, for 10 minutes. Turn the apples so that they all have a chance to be basted in the butter. Cook the apples, without the lid, letting the slices caramelize in the butter. Watch carefully so that the slices do not burn. Some people just want the apples cooked through. Others, like myself, appreciate the caramelization on the apples.


Apple TreeThere are many different varieties of apples available today. Some are old favorites and others are a bit more difficult to find. 

Lady or Api apple. One of the oldest varieties, this apple dates from the first century A.D., but is not readily found in most supermarkets. Gourmet shops or fruit sellers in large cities often stock this sweetly tart apple. It is a small red or yellow apple with a red blush and is great for desserts and sauces. Because of their small size, Lady apples add a lovely touch to fruit baskets or are used as a garnish. They are available during the winter.

Click to continue reading A Guide To Different Apple Types


NY Apple AssociatonApples have been enjoyed by human beings since at least 6500 BC. Small burnt apples have been found in archaeological sites around lakes in Switzerland. There are wild apples or crab apples found in most countries of Europe, including as far north as Norway. It is thought that the first apple trees originated somewhere between the Caspian and the Black Seas. The Wild Apple, native to Britain, is the ancestor of all modern apple trees. The Romans grafted their premium varieties, including some from France, onto this wild stock  
Though small, bitter, wild Crab Apples were present in the New World when the Pilgrims came to America, they wrote home for seeds and cuttings from England. This established the early apple strains in New England. Later, colonists brought apple trees to plant in Virginia and throughout the Southeast. 
Legend tells of a Massachusetts man, Johnny Chapman, who traveled throughout what was then the West (Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois) in the early 1800s, planting apple trees. There is also a tale of a London sea captain who brought seeds to Washington state in 1820 that are reputed to be the initial stock for the booming Washington State apple industry.
Nearly 8,000 varieties exist today, but only about 100 are grown commercially in this country.  New varieties are being discovered as chance seedlings or intentional cross-breeding. Of the commercial crop, 61 percent are eaten fresh, 21 percent are made into juice or cider, and 39 percent are processed into a variety of apple products.

[Photo courtesy of the NY Apple Association]


Apple displayThe old adage, “An apple a day, keeps the doctor away,” may not be just something our grandmother’s told us. Apples, members of the rose family, are portable nutrition packages that are quite tasty.

Apples have been found to reduce the risk of stroke and Type II diabetes and to improve bowel function.  Flavonoids, abundant in apples, help prevent the growth of prostate cancer cells, and phytochemicals in the skin of apples seem to inhibit the reproduction of colon cancer cells. Two recent studies indicated that eating five apples a week helped lower the risk for respiratory diseases like asthma. Apples also help protect arteries from plaque build up, and eating two apples a day or drinking a 12 ounce glass of apple juice reduced the effects of cholesterol. Also, pectin and other acids in apples help aid digestion. That’s why apples are great served with rich foods like pork or lamb or duck.
Apples have more nutrients if eaten raw with their skin, but they should be washed thoroughly. Just under that wonderful colored coat lies half of the Vitamin C content of the apple. The skin also has lots of fiber and is the source of the apple’s characteristic fragrance. 
A raw medium apple (two and a half inches in diameter), eaten with the skin, has only 80 calories, 5 grams of fiber, and is a great source of potassium. It also contains calcium, phosphorus, iron, and Vitamin C and A. The apple is composed of 80-85 percent water, 5 percent protein, and 10-15 percent carbohydrates. It also is sodium free and fat free.
Apples also are 25 percent air. That is the reason why they float when you put them in a tub of water at Halloween parties and dunk for them.


Raspberry Tea
Raspberries are great in almost anything. When you combine them with iced tea, you have a winning combination.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups boiling water
  • 6 tea bags
  • ice and cold water to fill a half-gallon pitcher
  • one-half cup of frozen or fresh raspberries
  • sprig of mint (optional)

Preparation:
Boil the water and add 6 tea bags. Allow to steep for 10 minutes. Add raspberries and let the flavor develop for another 10 minutes. Strain and pour into a half-gallon pitcher. Add ice cubes and enough water to fill the container. Garnish with mint leaves.


WatermelonA recent study by the US Department of Agriculture found that the temperature you store watermelons has an effect on how much lycopene and beta-carotene they have. They found that storing watermelons at room temperature (70 degrees F) increased the lycopene the melon produced by 40 percent and beta-carotene up to 139 percent. The human body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A.

Also, they found that if you put that succulent melon in the fridge at 41 degrees F, it will start to decay within a week. But you can store them between 50 and 70 degrees for up to three weeks, letting these green packages continue to make nutrients that are good for your body.

It is suggested that you store the melon at these temperatures. Then chill your melon a few hours before your picnic or backyard barbecue. You’ll see enjoy that refreshing cold watermelon that has come to mean summer for a lot of folks, and you’ll get more nutrition with each juicy bite.


wine bottlesMost people think of salads as being appetizers or palate cleansers. A simple green salad dressed in oil and vinegar is just that. But summer salads can be your entire meal or half of it if paired with a sandwich or soup. Serving a wine with them can enhance your dining experience.

But which wine? The trick here is to consider the weight of the salad, its ingredients, and the acidity of the salad dressing. If you have a salad with meats or grilled vegetables, serve something heartier like a Chardonnay or a Pinot Noir. If your salad has arugula, escarole, or other peppery greens, use a Petite Syrah or Zinfandel.

If you have added cheese, pair the wine as you would a fruit. For example, if you have a blue cheese or Roquefort, you would normally serve it with pears or other sweet, mild fruits. Pair it with a sweeter wine like a Riesling or Gewurztraminer. A smoked cheese in a salad can handle a strong red wine.

If berries or other sweet fruit are in your salad, a Pinot Noir is excellent. Subtle fruits like apple, melon, pear, or mango can be paired with a Chardonnay, a Sauvignon Blanc, or a Riesling.

To avoid the acid in your salad dressing from competing with the acid in your wine, try using fruit juice (orange or lemon) or a sweet balsamic vinegar instead of regular vinegar.

But most of all, have fun and experiment with different wine choices with your summer salads. Buy a couple of different types of wine. If something doesn’t quite jive, try the other one. Keep experimenting.


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