It's Apple Time

| 10/16/2014 3:24:00 PM

Country MoonOctober is definitely apple season here in Michigan with many small towns holding apple fests throughout the month. Our state ranks third in the nation’s apple production with only New York and Washington State surpassing us.

There is just something about apples that says home, country and cozy. Many a friend and neighbor have kicked off their shoes and settled at the kitchen table for a cup of coffee and a piece of warm apple pie. Nothing entices the palette more than the aroma of apple dumplings straight from the oven or a large pot of spiced apple cider simmering on the stove on chilly nights.

Not only do these little orbs tantalize the taste buds, but they are also good for you as they are packed with an array of nutrients. They are packed with a powerhouse of antioxidants, which are compounds that fight a multitude of diseases. Although all apples are super health foods, Red Delicious and Granny Smiths rank highest in antioxidants. Eating the fruit’s flesh and peel can help curb all sorts of cancers, protect against Parkinson’s, help avoid Alzheimer’s, decrease the risk of diabetes, and a whole lot more. Eating an apple a day may really keep the doctor away!

One of my personal favorites this time of year is the fresh apple cider you can get at most orchards. All cider is not created equal though. It all depends on what kinds of apples are pressed for the cider. Ideally, a mixture of tart and sweet produces the best flavor, and many orchards have their own “recipe” of exactly what mixture they use so all their cider will have consistent flavor. Then some producers use whatever apples have fallen to the ground, so the taste varies from batch to batch. I especially like it when an orchard is recreating how it used to be done by having demonstrations with old-fashioned cider presses. It just doesn’t get any better.

Another blast from the past that is making a comeback is making apple butter the old-fashioned way. A couple years ago we had an opportunity to attend an apple butter boil near Sylvan, Pennsylvania. We had no idea what a treat or kind of day lay in store for us as we traveled back to Little Cove, not far from where Jim grew up. A cove is a small valley between two ridge lines that is closed at one or both ends. The folks in this particular valley live much as their grandparents did.

We had sent some friends, Margaret and Alan Jaynes, an article that had appeared in Country magazine about a family who made it a tradition to have an apple butter boil every year. They were intrigued by the article and decided to start their own family tradition.

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