Fall for APPLES

By Guest Blogger Erika Reardon of Erika’s Catering

Fall is my favorite time of year! Gardens and markets are full of vegetables and fruits that simply speak to me! And apples are the ones I hear over all other. Maybe it is my New York roots or my appreciation for such a multi tasking food item. Try to find another food item that can go from sweet to savory to eaten as is…

Recently I was watching The Botany of Desire* on one of those educational cable channels. The program showcased several plants and asked if we, as humans, cultivated these plants or if the plants had really been in charge of their spread across the known world. My friend “The Apple” was one of those plants. The whole history of the apple was covered in this program and I do recommend you search this documentary out if you find history, human nature or apples at all interesting!

On a recent trip back home to upstate New York, we got to eat apples right off the tree! A treat indeed! My family’s hobby orchard has several varieties of apples not readily available in the supermarkets of the east coast, let alone here in California. These jewels are Cortland apples!

On the flight home to CA, I read from the Wall Street Journal about the farmers, chefs and apple fans that are working to preserve heirloom varieties. There are fewer then a dozen mainstay varieties available in today’s supermarkets including Red Delicious, Fuji and Granny Smith.

It is believed that there were once 15,000 different apple varieties grown in the US. But, since the 1950’s, mass apple production has favored more reliable varieties that stand up to shipping and the customer’s vision of the perfect apple.

So here is your challenge. Seek out a variety of apple you have never tried! Besides increasing demand for these disappearing apples, you will likely keep the Doctor away!

Here is a super simple recipe to start you on your search. Compote is a cooked fruit dish that can be used as a condiment. I like this one with waffles, but consider it for pork roast or over a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream!

Apple Compote
3 apples
½ cup dried cranberries
1 cup apple cider
2 Tbsp lemon juice
¼ tsp cinnamon
Honey (To taste, depending on how tart your apples are!)

Peel, core and chop apples
Combine with remaining ingredients in heavy bottomed sauce pan
Bring to a boil over high heat
Reduce to simmer & partially cover
Simmer about 20 minutes till softened
Then add honey if you’d like

*The Botany of Desire Starring Michael Pollan and Frances McDormand 2009 documentary

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