It's not quite fall yet, but fall fruits and vegetables are becoming bountiful, with Pumpkin Spice and cinnamon scents and flavor dominating the store shelves. General Mills has even dared to develop a new Pumpkin Spice Cheerios. Either you love it, or hate it.
Locally, apple orchards, such as Allen's (Marion) and Wilson's (Iowa City) have opened their gates for those who enjoy picking their own apples, while Bloomsbury Farms (Atkins) is gearing up for their fall activities, as well.
Apples are probably the most versatile fruit there is. You can use it in salads, chopped it into applesauce, use it in main dishes, in desserts and drinks, or eat it "as-is." It is good for you, too. You have probably heard the old cliche, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away." According to Wikipedia, the saying was first recorded in the 1860s and originated in Wales. The original wording of the saying was "Eat an apple on going to bed, and you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread." The current phrasing, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away", started being used regularly at the end of the 19th Century.
According to medicalnewstoday.com, apples are extremely rich in important antioxidants, flavanoids, and dietary fiber. "The phytonutrients and antioxidants in apples may help reduce the risk of developing cancer, hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease."
It can also help prevent dementia and strokes, as well as reduces risk of diabetes and other maladies.
The apple tree originated in Central Asia, where its wild ancestor, Malus sieversii, is still found today. Apples have been grown for thousands of years in Asia and Europe and were brought to North America by European colonists. New research shows that the apple tree has been on earth about as long as humans, but the early apples were more like crabapples--small and sour.
Angie Luna posted the image below on Facebook, which shows some of the different kinds of apples, as well as how sweet or tart they are. A good rule of thumb for baking is "the tarter the apple, the better," but it all has to do with preference. (Some flavors tend to bake out.)
As a baker, I have tried several Apple Crisp recipes, but the one I like most is made with honey, instead of granulated sugar. If you are adventureous, you can even substitue the brown sugar for Stevia, or a brown sugar blend, for a dessert that is lower in calories.
Amazing Apple Crisp