Fall Means Apple Time
by: Annette M. Hall
It's harvest time and there is nothing sweeter than tasting
a fresh apple on a cool crisp fall day. Why not expand your apple horizons this year?
Apples are kid friendly, something you can feel good about your child eating.
Kids and apples go hand-in-hand, sort of like peanut butter and jelly. Which reminds
me, peanut butter makes a terrific topping for apple slices, the combination tastes
great and don't tell the kids but it's good for them too. Why not visit your
local apple orchard, this is a
perfect time of year to round up the younguns and take them on an outting to
the local apple farm, most are serving fresh apple cider and donuts
during the fall months.
I have provided fun links for the kids, a list of the characteristics on just a
few of the hundreds of different types of apples, this list is by no means exhaustive
but for the inquisitive mind, we've provided plenty of
to whet your appetite for knowledge. You will also find some neat ideas to get the kids excited
about eating apples and perhaps, spark your creative culinary skills.
Everyone knows that apple pie is an all American favorite and that ice cream
over a warm piece of pie is like heaven on earth but when is the last time you
topped your apple pie with a slice of melted cheese? Give it a try for a delicious
variation to an old favorite.
Kids just love finger food, so for a simple lunch why not make your own snackables?
These are my sons absolute favorite. I give him three or four carrot sticks, a couple of
slices of ham or turkey rolled up or cut into a square, four or five apple slices,
four or five of his favorite crackers with cheese slices or string cheese. You can even
serve his snack plate with cottage cheese or yogurt for a nice change. There is no
limit to the variations and since it's finger food, the kids are sure to love them.
The nice part for you is, it's easy to prepare, heathy for your child, easy to clean up
and the cost is right.
Fondue for Kids
You can make any event memorable for the kids by adding a special touch, with apples
of course. Dig that fondue set out of the back of
the cupboard and put it to use. Depending on the occasion, you can melt
chocolate, cheese or even peanut butter
in your fondue set. Slice up plenty of apples, bananas, oranges and any other fruit your
children enjoy eating. In separate dishes provide marshmallows, sprinkles, shredded coconut,
chopped nuts - don't be afraid to be creative. Then stand back and let the kids enjoy their
own creations, dunking their fruit in the sauce, then coating it with nuts, coconut or
The same thing can be done with these various
fondue sauces with meats and various vegetables. Just be
sure to keep it fun and include at least one item the kids have never tried before.
You just might be surprised at their reaction. This was something we for the kids
each year at our house, when the kids were growing up. They loved having their own
special New Year's Eve celebration, it was always a very special event. For an added
touch get out the fancy glasses and provide some sparkling cider, the kids will feel
like you threw them a fancy dinner party in their honor, sure to create fond memories
for your son or daughter to look back on for years to come.
Visit your local orchard or grocery store if you don't have a local orchard or
farmers market nearby, purchase as many apple varieties
as possible (be sure you keep track of what kind they are). Be sure to have everyone
wash their hands, don't forget the soap.
Interactive Apple Fun and Games
- Gently wash each apple.
- Examine each apple.
- How many can the kids identitfy by sight?
- Is the apple soft or firm to touch?
- Does the apple have a unique aroma?
- Cut each apple in half.
- Do they all look alike?
- How do they differ?
- Are the seeds grouped the same?
- How many seeds can you see?
- Peel one half of the apple.
- How does the peel look and feel?
- How does it taste?
- What kind of texture does it have?
- Slice the other half of the apple.
- Have each child feel the apple slice and describe it.
- Smell the apple slice. How does it smell?
- Taste each slice. Is it tart or sweet? Bitter or mild?
- Which apples do you like best? Which do you like the least? Why?
See what the apple experts have to say about our American favorite. Visit these
websites for more facinating apple facts, apple history and trivia:
- U.S. Apple Bits — Adam's apple: This physiological terminology sprung from the conception that the protuberance on a man's throat was caused by a piece of forbidden apple from the Garden of Eden's Tree of Knowledge lodged in Adam's throat, rather than the thyroid cartilage of the larynx. [See Also]
- Fowler Farms — Fresh apples float because 25 percent of their volume is air.
- Vermont Apples — "An apple a day" now has new meaning for those who want to maintain mental dexterity as they age.
- Apple History and Facts — Apples originated in the Middle East more than 4000 years ago; fruit and vines have been grown in the UK since the Roman occupation, with specially cultivated apple varieties spreading across Europe to France, arriving in England at around the time of the Norman conquest in 1066.
- Best Apple Core Facts — Harvest of Washington apples begins in mid-August and generally ends in early November. The 2002 state apple crop destined for the fresh market is estimated at 85.8 million boxes.
- Fun Facts - Crispy's Apple Trivia — Take the quiz and test your knowledge of Washington apples!
- Apples & More — Apple blossom is the state flower of Michigan.
- NY Apple Country Teacher Kit® — This free kit includes a complete set of integrated classroom activities that encompass art, language, Health & Nutrition, science, social studies and math. Lesson plans and ready-to-photocopy worksheets are included. [Grades K-6]
Apples are the most widely cultivated
of fruit trees around the world. Europeans worked to improve apple varieties more
than 2,000 years ago. The largest producers now are the United States, China,
France, Italy and Turkey with a world crop of 32 million tons a year. One half
of the U.S. crop is eaten fresh, one-fifth is made into vinegar, juice, jelly and
apple butter and one-sixth is canned for pies and applesauce.
Apple growers across the country have provided the following descriptions.
- Alexander (Emperor Alexander)
is well named with a deep red, almost black skin. It is rock hard, sweet and tart
and a long storage apple. This apple is renown for its long shelf life. It's good
for making sauce and baking.
- Braeburn has high impact flavor. The crisp,
aromatic Braeburn blends sweetness and tartness just right for snacks and salads.
It's also good in baking, applesauce
and for freezing. Braeburn color
varies from greenish-gold with red sections to nearly solid red. Braeburn was
discovered as a chance seedling near Nelson, New Zealand in 1952. Its probable
parents are Lady Hamilton and Granny Smith.
- Criterion apples should be firm with smooth
and clean skin. The Criterion has the distinctive shape of a
Red Delicious, but has a bold yellow color, often
with a red blush. Test the firmness of the apple by holding it in the palm of your
hand. (Do not push with your thumb). It should feel solid and heavy, not soft and
- Elstar is a firm apple with a reputation for its
intense, sweet, tangy flavor, which is especially good for making applesauce. They are
a distinctive apple for snacking, in salads and fruit trays. They tend to retain their
effervescent flavor and hold up well during cooking.
- Fortune The Fortune apple is sprightly with
a slightly spicy flavor. It is a cross between a Red Spy and Empire apple. Excellent
for pies and sauces also for fresh eating.
spicy, crisp sweetness and firm flesh make it an excellent fresh eating apple.
It's also good in baking or applesauce and stores well. Fuji flavor improves
in storage like fine wine. Fuji skin color varies from yellow-green with red
highlights to very red. It was bred from a cross between Red Delicious and
Ralls Janet varieties in Japan.
is one of my absolute favorites for fresh eating. It is heart-shaped
with distinctive yellow-orange skin with red striping. Gala is just the
right size for snacking and is great in salads, good for baking and very
good in applesauce.
- Ginger Gold Sweet, tangy and juicy,
Ginger Gold apples are an early apple, harvested in August and available until
September. This is a crisp and juicy apple with excellent taste. The Ginger gold
apples are round with a smooth green-yellow skin that has a slight red blush. Ginger
Gold apples were discovered in a Virginia orchard in the foothills of the Blue Ridge
- Golden Delicious
has firm, white flesh and sweet crisp flavor. It is the preferred "all
purpose" cooking apple since it retains its shape and rich, mellow
flavor when baked or cooked. Its skin is so tender and thin that it doesn't
require peeling for most recipes. Golden Delicious is very good in fresh
salads and freezes well. Great as a snack or a lunchbox treat. The Gold Delicious
apple is the official fruit of West Virginia.
- Granny Smith
has crisp mouth-watering tartness. Bright green Granny Smith has a pink blush.
Its tartness really comes through when baked and sautéed.
- Gravenstein is a terrific sauce and
pie apple. It is a roundish, irregularly shaped apple with a very short stem. The color
varies, but is usually a greenish yellow background covered with broad red stripes. The
Gravenstein is crisp, juicy, aromatic and full of old-fashioned tart-sweet flavor.
- Jonagold is a blend of Jonathan and Golden Delicious
apples, offering a unique tangy-sweet flavor with firm flesh. Jonagold is excellent both
for eating fresh and for cooking. Jonagolds make great fried apples. Simply sauté
in a little butter and add a little cinnamon. No sugar needed!
- Jonathan apples are generally small to
medium in size and dark to bright red. Their flesh is yellowish-white, occasionally
with red veins and they are crisp, tender, juicy, aromatic and moderately tart.
Jonathan apples are another all-purpose apple for cooking, baking or fresh eating.
- McIntosh is a very popular variety that
is shiny red in color and has a juicy, sweet, and slightly tart flavor, and is used
as a snack or in salads and desserts. The peak time of year for its availability is
from early fall to late winter.
- Mutsu, also called Crispin,
is sweet, firm and crisp. It is good for sauce, pies and fresh eating. The mutsu is a
Japanese apple and can be substituted in recipes with the Granny Smith variety if Mutsu
are not available in your area.
- Red Rome apples are referred to as the "baker's
buddy," this apple was discovered as a chance seedling in the early 1800s on a farm near Rome
Township, Ohio. Famed for its storage qualities, this mildly tart apple is primarily used for cooking
and is especially good baked or sautéed. The Rome apple is typically available beginning
is the apple with old-fashioned flavor. Winesap has a
spicy almost wine-like flavor that makes it the cider maker's first choice.
Violet red in color, it's great as a snack and in salads.
Apples and Technology