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Apple Abundance

Valerie BoeseFall is the time to enjoy the abundance of apples. Apples are everywhere this time of year. Local markets have many varieties to offer, with local orchards selling these tasty fruits. Or perhaps you have an apple tree in your backyard or your neighbor has an apple tree, giving you fresh apples. Anyway you get them, apples are in season and taste so good this time of year. There are abundant ways to use apples; the best way is to eat them fresh or you can shred them in your pancake batter, add a little cinnamon and you have a wonderful apple pancake. Apples make great desserts too. Everyone loves apple pie – there's nothing like a slice of hot apple pie to take the chill out of the air and satisfy your taste buds.

My family has several apple trees, and we are usually very fortunate to have some extras to can and store fresh for winter. I like to can apples and use them for desserts and pies through the winter. Canning your own apples taste so much better than what you buy in the store and you know what is in them. Apples are very easy to can. I peel and slice them then cook them up on the stove with cinnamon, until fully cooked. Once they are fully cooked, I pack them in jars, using canning lids and rings from Ball or Kerr. I add the pints to the hot bath canner, and boil at a light boil for 25 minutes or quarts for 40 minutes. Canned apples are great to use in pies, pastries and apple crisp. For more information on canning, check Ball's website.

I like to grow a variety of apples here in northeast Nebraska. We grow Gala, Fuji, Red Delicious, Wolf and Macintosh. These are reliable varieties that produce fruit for us almost every year. I find that not all apple trees will give you a reliable apple crop, probably because of the late frosts we have in the spring, killing the flowers before the fruit can develop. Some bloom a little later or are a little more frost tolerant. I like growing Gala, because they give me an early crop, usually ready around mid-August. The Gala, Fuji and Red Delicious are all good eating apples where the Wolf and Macintosh are better for cooking. They are a little tart, but just right for cooking. Using apples that have a tart flavor will give you a much better flavored apple desert or pies. The Wolf and Macintosh are good for cooking and are ready to be picked around first of September. The Fuji isn’t ready until mid- or end of October, which works out perfect. We have been eating the Galas for six weeks now. I can pick the Fuji and bag them up for winter. Storing Fujis in sealed food storage bags in the refrigerator keeps them fresh well up to six months. The Fuji is my favorite eating apple; they have so much flavor and stay so nice and crisp. 

Today I made an apple crisp with fresh apples. Apple crisp is always so good; I make it with old fashioned oatmeal, fresh apples and cinnamon. Very tasty and very easy to make. The full recipe is below.

Get your apples ready, slice and peel them; the apple peeler I use works well.

Peel and slice apples for Old Fashioned Apple Crisp

Add apples to baking dish.

Add sliced apples to baking dish

Top apples with flour, cinnamon, and brown sugar.

Pour brown sugar, butter, and oatmeal mixture over apples

Ready for oven.

Ready for the oven

Ready to eat, oh yeah!!

Old-Fashioned Apple Crisp

Old-Fashioned Apple Crisp

8 cups peeled and sliced apples (use cooking apple like Macintosh, Jonathan or Wolf)
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, divided
3 tablesoons flour
2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
1 cup brown sugar, divided
1/2 cup butter

Preheat oven to 350 F. Peel and slice raw apples and add to 9-by-13 baking dish.

Mix together flour, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/4 cup brown sugar and sprinkle over apples.

On stove top in medium size saucepan, melt butter at medium heat, turn off stove. To melted butter, add remaining brown sugar, remaining cinnamon and oatmeal; mix well. 

Pour oatmeal mixture over raw apples, covering all of the apples. Place in oven and bake for 45 minutes, or until oatmeal has turned golden brown.