Autumn apples

Fall in love with nature’s bounty.Ohio growers say 2013 will have a great crop.


From Eve to Isaac Newton, people have long realized that there’s power in apples, starting with an abundance of good nutritional elements.

“A medium apple has around 80 calories with no fat, no sodium and plenty of fiber,” says Registered dietician-nutritionist Ellen Thompson of Springfield. “Apples have Vitamin A and many people don’t realize that apples are also high in potassium which helps control blood pressure and even helps prevent leg cramps.”

September is an especially good time to be a Midwesterner, especially this year. Ohio growers are saying that our state’s 2013 apple crop is shaping up to be a strong harvest, so you’ll have plenty of apples for snacking, cooking, baking and dipping in caramel.

“I’ve used apples in so many different ways from traditional desserts to roasting them with vegetables and a pork roast,” says Chef Candace Rinke, well known for her apple fritters offered during Sunday brunch at her Hawthorn Grill restaurant on Stroop Road in Kettering. “Don’t be afraid to chop up apples for a salad, saute them with onions for a side dish or just smear a little peanut butter on slices for a great snack.”

For even more inspiration as to what to do with apples, visit the 31st annual Country Applefest on Sept. 28 in downtown Lebanon. Apple doughnuts and apple noodles? You might see them there and plenty of other irresistible concoctions.

Your favorite supermarket or farmer’s market will be happy to fix you up with a bushel and a peck of your favorite variety of apples this fall. Better yet, gather apples yourself at one of the many Southwest Ohio orchards offering pick-your-own opportunities.

“We like getting our apples right from the tree, choosing the exact ones we want,” says Beavercreek resident Edward Knyzhansky, who goes apple picking with his wife and son. “It’s a fine experience — and so is eating the apple pie made from what we picked.”

In 2005, when Mary and Frank Hora were establishing Tuken’s Farm Market on Eaton Pike in West Alexandria, they established acres of small size apple trees so all members of visiting families can pick apples. “We created a space so kids can learn what fruit looks like on the tree,” Mary Hora reports. “Apples are like ornaments on the tree. They really are quite beautiful and inspiring. If you’ve never picked from the tree, you really should try it.”

Like other orchards, the folks at Tuken’s let visitors know what sections of the orchards are ready for picking. Orchards sell by the bushel, half-bushel or by the pound.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH APPLE SOUP

Ingredients:

5 oz Applewood smoked bacon, cut into ½ inch pieces

1 small onion, diced large

3 stalks celery, diced large

4 large Melrose apples, peeled, cored, quartered

1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded, diced large

3-4 cups vegetable stock

1 cup buttermilk

2/3 cup heavy cream

salt and pepper to taste

optional garnish: chopped spiced pecans and maple infused cream

Directions:

Cook bacon in large pan over medium heat until crispy. Remove bacon from pan and reserve for soup garnish.

In bacon grease, sauté onion and celery until soft. Add apples and squash and cook a few minutes until starting to brown. Add enough vegetable stock to cover, season heavily with salt and pepper.

Cook until vegetables are soft. Add buttermilk and cream and puree with emulsion blender, strain through china cap.

Serve garnished with bacon, chopped spiced pecans and maple infused cream.

SOURCE: Recipe provided by Candace Rinke of the Hawthorn Grill, Kettering



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