An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Once again, homespun wisdom proves to be trustworthy and true! Apples are a miracle food, really — they taste great, are super good for you, store well, can be used in any meal of the day, and they even look pretty. Let’s face it, apples are amazing. Long before refrigeration, apple varieties were developed to come into season from July all through November. Everyone’s back yard had at least three types of apples trees, providing apples for eating, applesauce, pies and cider. For free! I have always disagreed with the saying “easy as apple pie.” Sure, the ingredient list is short, but whipping out a great apple pie takes time and work. Therefore it behooves us to know which apples are going to ensure the best result. The first apples of the year are the Yellow Transparent, and it makes a very good pie. Next come the Gravensteins, a superb pie apple. But the apples voted Most Likely to Please for a Pie are the Jonathon and the Rome. In the first runner up category are Gala, McIntosh, Winesap, Gingergold and Jonagold.
Always remember that the apple you most enjoy for munching is not likely to be the apple you want for your pies, cakes and applesauce. My favorite eating apples are the Fuji and Honeycrisp. Red Delicious and Granny Smith are also superb for eating, but not high on the list for cooking.
OK, you have already tried my Apple Crisp recipe and found it to be over-the-top delicious, so now it’s time to share the secrets of a really good Apple Cake.
Every time I taste a particularly good apple cake, I ask for the recipe. I almost always hear “this was my grandma’s recipe,” which is a propitious omen. After comparing several, it seems that many of our grandma’s were sharing the same recipe!
Old-Fashioned Apple Cake
4 cups of chopped apples
2 cups of sugar
One half cup of cooking oil (canola is my favorite)
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
2 cups of flour
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a 9 X 13 baking pan, pour in your batter and bake for 45 minutes
Let cake cool before icing. It really doesn’t need to be iced, but Joe likes icing
Cream Cheese Icing
8 oz. package of cream cheese
3 Tablespoons butter
3 cups of powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla
If serving for breakfast or brunch, do not ice the cake. That way you won’t feel guilty.
Any recipe that has fruit in it qualifies as breakfast food for me!
This is a great recipe for beginner cooks. With such a satisfying result, who wouldn’t want to keep on learning to cook ?
It breaks my heart to see a healthy apple tree cut down. If you can’t use all of the apples from your trees, take them to the Food Bank or the Mission. They’ll be gratefully accepted and provide good nutrition to those in need.
Wouldn’t a community Apple Orchard be a great plan? We should be planting more apple trees, not cutting them down. Even if you don’t plan on staying in your home for decades, you will still be doing a service to your neighborhood by planting apple trees and right now is the time to make a list of the varieties you like best. The Grays Harbor Farmers Market has oodles of apples right now and more will be coming. Get some of each kind, keep track of your favorites, and shop for those trees this winter.
Barbara Bennett Parsons is manager of the Grays Harbor Farmers Market in Hoquiam, aka Apple Central. 538-9747.