September 18, 2003 at 1:42 p.m.
I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t like this delicious fruit in some form or another. If you are thinking about planting fruit trees in your yard, particularly apple trees, or adding a tree or two, I’d like to recommend that one tree be planted near your home, just for children’s or adult’s pleasure and kept free from pruning, which is so necessary in the orchard. An apple tree left to grow on its own is a friendly tree, its low branches inviting a child to climb into the magical leafy hiding places to read or day dream in the light of the day. I know of a person who goes out to his orchard, near his home, with Bible in hand to read and pray in the quiet beauty of the early morning hours, surrounded by the aroma of apples that tickles the nostrils with their perfume.
Our Beacon apple tree was loaded this year and what a blessing to be able to walk out to where the trees are growing, near the house, to pick apples for apple crisp, pies, fresh eating, etc.
It’s time to do recipes. Last week I made apple butter that was so delicious, from a recipe book that is about 40 years old and nothing has changed, except the color of the paper on which it’s printed.
SPICED APPLE BUTTER
12 c. (about 5 lbs.) cooking apples, peeled, cored and quartered (Beacons are great for this as they are a soft apple and cook up in a short amount of time, plus being a fairly sweet apple.)
1-1/2 to 2 c. water (apple cider may be used in place of water if you wish)
1/4-1/2 c. sugar to each cup of pulp
3/4 t. ground cloves
2-3 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. allspice
1/2 t. nutmeg
In a Dutch oven or large pan, combine apples and water. Bring to a boil over high heat; lower heat, cover and simmer 15-20 minutes or until apples are soft (a crisp or hard apple such as a Haralson may take a little longer to cook).
Puree apples through food mill or sieve. Add 1/4 to 1/2 c. sugar to each cup of pulp, mixing well. Stir in spices. Cook over low heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Continue to cook, stirring often, until mixture is the consistency you choose, as in very thick.
Ladle into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4-inch head space. Seal and process in hot water bath 10 minutes. Makes 6 pints.
Do you have about a cup of leftover ham in the fridge from a previous meal? If not, stop by the deli when you’re shopping and get a thick slice for this recipe, for two or three.
APPLE HAM SALAD
1/4 c. mayonnaise or salad dressing
1/4 t. prepared mustard
1 t. honey
1 t. lemon juice
dash of ground cloves
1 c. julienned, cooked ham (about 1/4-inch thick)
1 medium red apple, skin on, diced
1 rib celery, sliced
1/4 t. sesame seeds, toasted (optional)
In a bowl, combine first five ingredients, blending well. Stir in ham, apple and celery. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. (I like to use finely chopped pecans.) Serves 2-3.
You’ll have juicier, plumper (is that a word?) less shriveled fruit when you do this recipe in the micro. Saves time and energy, too.
BAKED APPLES WITH
4 large Rome Beauty or Cortland apples
1/4 c. packed brown sugar
1/4 c. quick-cooking oats, uncooked
2 T. chopped dates (optional)
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
2 t. margarine or butter
Core apples, cutting almost through to the bottom (flower end). Remove peel about one-third of the way down from the top. Put apples in shallow 1-1/2 qt. glass casserole or 8x8 glass baking dish.
In small bowl, combine next four ingredients. Fill each apple with equal amounts of mixture. Put 1/2 t. margarine on top of filling.
Cook apples, covered, on medium-high (70 percent power) until tender, 12-14 minutes, turning each apple halfway through cooking time. Spoon syrupy liquid from dish over apples when serving. Serves 4.
You might want to enter this recipe in the Jell-O cook off (previously mentioned in this column) Oct. 5 at Chisago Lake Lutheran Church. This is a great dessert for diabetics.
LIGHT ‘N REFRESHING APPLE GELATIN DESSERT
1-8 oz. serving size package orange flavored sugar-free gelatin
1-1/2 c. boiling water
1 c. cold apple juice
1-1/2 c. diced red skin-on eating apples (Delicious, Braeburn, Fuji, etc.)
Dissolve gelatin in boiling water in medium bowl. Combine fruit juice and ice cubes in large measuring cup to make 2-1/2 c. Add to gelatin, stirring until slightly thickened. Remove any unmelted ice. Stir in apples; pour into individual dessert glasses.*
Chill till set, about 4 hours. Garnish with fresh mint leaves and a slice of apple suspended over the edge of the glass. Makes 8 servings.
NOTE: The apples should be suspended in the gelatin, sort of like they’re floating. If not, you didn’t let it thicken enough.
*A footed sherbet dish works well.
Thought for the day: You can’t get much done if you start tomorrow.