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Summer is over and shiny red, yellow or green apples are replacing the peaches, plums and other fruits of summer. With so many varieties of apples how can one know which type is best for whatever use the cook has in mind?

Not all apples are crisp and sweet. Others may be tart. Some make better applesauce where other varieties hold up better for baking or eating out of hand. It depends on the variety and the state the fruit is in. Apples may not keep their freshness very long when picked when mature and may become mealy. Those that are not quite ripe will continue to ripen after picking.

Apples ripen from the outside of the tree towards the center. Those on the southern side also ripen first. Depending on the variety, ripeness may occur 170 to 180 days after blooming. The best apples to use for pies, desserts and other baking are the Cortland, Braeburn, Fuji, Gala, Granny Smiths, Red or Yellow Delicious, and Honeycrisp. The Granny Smiths is a tart apple, excellent in pie but needs much sugar in sauce. Honeycrisps are a bit watery.

There are so many different ways to use apples in cooking or baking. They may be put into recipes of salads, sauces, sandwiches, chicken, pork, vegetables, pancakes, desserts, relishes, juices and many other recipes even though they are not called for. When cutting an apple horizontally take a moment to really look at the star in the middle surrounding the seeds.

Lightly wiping an apple with a clean, soft cloth can make it shinny. Apples naturally produce a wax called ursoic acid on their skins. This helps to retain the fruits moisture, retains firmness and slows down degradation. The wax may be removed by washing, as one should do before eating any fresh fruit or vegetables.

Some apples may be treated with an FDA approved gaseous compound, methylcyclopropene, to help preserve freshness and then kept in a controlled, low humidity storage for later marketing. Fuji and the Red or Yellow Delicious apples may be stored up to a year by lowering the oxygen levels in a controlled environment.

A plain apple contains many healthy benefits from vitamins to fiber and is thought to be one of the best fruits for health. It has also been found the fruit is linked in preventing the risk of many chronic diseases, type 2 diabetes, cancer heart disease and dementia. The most beneficial ingredients lay just under the skin which also provides fiber. The taste of the apple may change with age.

A suggestion when buying apples for children, pick out the smaller sizes. Many times part of a large apple gets thrown away as it is too much for the child to consume.

A common saying about apples is one about “Apples for a Teacher.” It is thought this saying occurred way, way back when when school teachers were not paid very well. Some of their salary was provided by people giving them produce, fruits, or even candles.

Something to think about: “An apple for the teacher is always gonna do the trick, if you didn’t study your arithmetic.” Bing Crosby in movie of the same name, 1939.

STUFFED ROAST PORK LOIN

1 whole or half boneless pork loin

Apple rings

Cornbread top-of-the stove stuffing mix

Honey

Lemon juice

Cut the loin into 6 to 8 chops, but not clear through. Pare and core the apples. Slice into 1/2” rings, one fewer than the chops. Prepare the stuffing mix according to directions for moist mixture. Place an apple ring and a spoonful of stuffing between each chop, beginning and ending with a chop. Tie together with clean string or with skewers. Place in a roasting pan and roast at 325 F. about 2 hours. Baste occasionally with the honey mixed with a little lemon juice. Remove string or skewers to serve.

RED CABBAGE WITH APPLE

2 Tablespoons cooking oil

2 small onions, sliced

2 pounds red cabbage, shredded

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3 Tablespoons vinegar

Salt to taste

2 teaspoons sugar

1 large tart apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped – or ½ cup applesauce

1/2 cup red wine

1/2 cup beef broth

Heat the oil in a frying pan and saute the onions 3 minutes. Add the cabbage and immediately pour the vinegar over the cabbage to prevent it from losing its red color. Sprinkle it with the salt and sugar. Add the chopped apples or applesauce. Pour in the red wine and beef broth. Stir. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes.

APPLE BROWNIES

2/3 cup soft margarine

1-3/4 cups brown sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup peeled, chopped apples

1/3 cup chopped walnuts

1/3 cup raisins

Powdered sugar

Cream the margarine and brown sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until well mixed. Add the sifted dry ingredients and beat until the mixture is smooth. Add the apple, walnuts and raisins and mix again. Spread the batter in a greased 9x13” pan and bake at 350 F. for 30-35 minute. Remove the brownies from the pan and dust each with powdered sugar before serving.

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