What could be more satisfying than crunching a fresh, juicy apple? Picking them, of course!
One year we went to a commercial orchard not far from New York City in Orange County. Before going inside, I asked if letting my guide dog lead me was safe. Many orchards allow the farm dogs to free run on the property and I didn’t want any confrontations. The staff assured me there wouldn’t be a problem. We parked and started up the hill to see what we could find. It was late in the season, but we found yellow and red delicious apples and even some late summer vegetables like cabbage and a large pumpkin.
Verona steered me among the tree limbs and uneven ground. After two hours of hiking the rows in-between the trees littered with fallen fruit and ducking the low, knurled branches, we sat down near the car and shared a very well deserved snack. My ankles were tired from walking at such angles, but it was fun and I think Verona actually liked it.
Each year, millions of folks go apple picking. Hordes of urbanites drive over bridges and into orchards and lug home bags of apples. The average American eats about 65 apples each year and studies have shown that an apple a day could decrease the risk of certain maladies, like skin cancer, breast cancer, and possibly even fend off Alzheimer’s disease.
Over 2,500 varieties of apples are grown in the United States and over 7,000 are grown worldwide. The most popular kinds are the Macintosh, red and yellow delicious, granny smith, and Fuji. There are hundreds of flavors, sizes, shapes, textures, and colors, from the little Japanese varieties called lady apples to the regional types from Canada and abroad. There are dessert apples, cooking apples, and juicing apples. Johnny Appleseed was a man before his time, spreading this hearty and plentiful fruit far and wide.
One thing is clear; apples aren’t just for dessert. Cooking and eating apples is fun and healthy. I found recipes for apple meatloaf, quiche, and lasagna. If you like fruit in food, apples are for you.
What’s your favorite apple recipe or kind of apple?