Monday, October 24, 2011
Apples I Have Known - in a book
Janet blogged recently about an apple-picking expedition, with photos that reminded me of excursions to the apple orchard that has been our family's favorite vender for decades. We didn't make it out there this year -- yet.
The number of munching, saucing and pie-baking kids and grandkids that we had around here at times could consume quite a few bags and boxes of fruit during apple season, and our grower friend featured almost 30 varieties of apples, which kept his barn open to customers for a deliciously long time.
My daughter whom I call by the name of a favorite apple gave me a small book that is fun to peruse when the apple farm closes, or when there isn't enough demand for fresh fruit in the house. It is all about various kinds of apples, with bright watercolors of those featured. Some old varieties, some newer.
Above is the Cortland that Janet is enjoying. If you want to read the text in any photo just click on the picture to enlarge it.
The Arkansas Black is one of that large selection on the local apple farm, and I have cooked with it many times.
Another friend and neighbor grew an orchard full of Criterions and sold gallons of the fresh juice out of his barn. Our older kids helped on the ranch, thinning the crop and such like, and no doubt these extra sweet and crisp fruits contributed to their good health.
Jonathans were a favorite of my father, as I discovered late in his life when I was given a boxful of runts. Late in the mountain season I sat in his cabin cutting up the fruit for applesauce, and he ate a dozen while youthful memories flooded his head.
And the Gravenstein -- it's got such a tang that as I write about it I start salivating. Its season is short, but there are plenty of orchards in our part of the country, and it adds the most appley flavor to whatever you cook with it. I have made many a curried apple turkey loaf with Gravenstein sauce.
I like the pictures of all the odd apples that I've never encountered, especially the sort of ugly knobby ones, or those with russeting or bumps, or elliptical shapes.
But my favorite apple of all, and naturally the best-for-me entry in this book, is one that was more available in stores when I first learned to bake pies. After using the same apples for many years, I have to admit that only Pippins make a pie that with my whole being I can rejoice in as Apple Pie. To prove my love, I am feeling a need to make a trip to Our Orchard this week and get a boxful.