Apples…Not Just for Teachers

By Joanne Callahan

With apple season just 'round the corner, what better time to start thinking about new and unusual recipes to delight your family and friends? First, a little apple lore: There are over 2500 varieties of apples grown in the United States, with a total of 15 popular varieties accounting for 90% of the total U.S. apple production.

The following is a list of the top ten apples, along with their uses. This is a good guide to keep handy in your kitchen, or when you go to the supermarket. You do not want to buy the wrong type apple for what you are trying to create. There is nothing more disappointing than an apple pie that has literally sunk in the pie pan because you used a soft apple.

Red Delicious: the most popular variety and is available year 'round nationwide. This apple is suitable for snacks and salads but not recommended for pies or cooking.

Golden Delicious: a good, all purpose apple which will not darken when sliced. This apple is also available year 'round and is suitable for all types of baking.

McIntosh: tart, tender, juicy but not at all recommended for baking. Mainly available in the east and mid-west from September until late spring.

Rome Beauty: medium-tart to sweet, this apple is best used for baking and is available nationwide from October until July.

Granny Smith: very firm, all purpose apple. Available year 'round nationwide.

Jonathan: a good, all-purpose apple which is available September until spring, mainly in the mid-west.

York Imperial: best for cooking and baking, this slightly tart and firm apple is available mainly in the Mid-Atlantic region from October until late spring.

Stayman: a multi-purpose apple which is suitable for salads and cooking. Stayman's are available from September until late spring in the central and southeast areas.

Newtown Pippin: firm and mildly tart, this all purpose apple is a favorite for pie fillings and sauces. Available on the west coast from September until February.

Winesap: firm apple with a tangy, wine-like flavor, this multi-purpose apple is available nationwide from October until July.

Ok, so now that you know which apple to use, why are you still confused about what to make? Would you like a challenge in the kitchen, or just something new to perk up your palate? Whatever you desire, the following recipes should satisfy even the most finicky eater in your house. Let's start with the most important meal of the day: Breakfast! Instead of slicing an apple onto your cereal, why not try a Fruit and Grain Breakfast Salad? The night before, combine 3 cups of water with a 1/4 teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil. Add 3/4 cup brown quick cooking rice and 3/4 cup bulgur. Reduce heat to low, and cook covered for 10 minutes, Remove from heat and set aside (still covered) for 2 more minutes. Spread hot grains on a cookie sheet to keep them fluffy. Keep refrigerated until morning. Just before serving, core and chop 1 Granny Smith and 1 Red Delicious apple, then peel one orange and cut into sections. Add apples, orange and 1 cup of raisins to grain mixture. Stir in one container of low fat vanilla or plain yogurt (8 ounces). Then sit down and enjoy!

Want to impress your breakfast guests? Try some Breakfast Kabobs! Heat oven to 400 degrees and lightly coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. In a bowl, combine 2 cups of water and 1 table spoon of lemon juice. Core 2 Golden Delicious apples and cut into quarters, then cut each quarter into 4 wedges. Soak slices in water for one minute, then drain. Cut 1 pound of kielbasa or breakfast sausage diagonally into 24 1/2 inch thick slices. On skewers (wooden or metal the choice is yours), alternately thread 4 slices of apple and 3 slices of meat, beginning and ending with apple. (Kielbasa should be threaded through the skin side and not the cut side). Roast kabobs, turning occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes or until apple slices soften and meat browns. Yum!

Want to try something fat free on your toast? Apple Cherry Fruit Spread is just the thing. In a medium saucepan, combine 3 multi-purpose apples of your choice that have been peeled, cored and coarsely chopped, with 1/2 cup dried cherries, 1/2 cup fruit juice or water and a cinnamon stick. Cover and simmer over medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Uncover and reduce heat to low. Cook for an additional 15 to 20 minutes longer, or until apples are very soft but retain their shape. Remove cinnamon stick. Add 1/2 teaspoon of lemon zest to apple mixture. In blender or food processor, puree apple mixture until it becomes chunky. Cool completely. Chill before serving and store leftovers in the refrigerator, provided you have any!

So, now that you are an apple expert, why not bring home a variety of apples and try your hand at the above recipes? All are easy and the outcome is well worth it!

It's apple time! Everyone you know is busily preparing homemade goodies with the delicious healthy treat... apples. Why not join the fun? Below are a few great, unique recipes for your lunch or dinner guests. Enjoy!

Looking for the perfect menu for that fall luncheon you're planning? Let us help. Prepare any or all of these dishes for your guests and prepare for raving reviews. On the menu today is an Apple Salsa Fritta.

Click here for the recipe for Apple Salsa Fritta

A steaming bowl of Apple, Potato, and Cheddar Soup might be just the thing to ward off the chill of a late fall afternoon.

Click here for the recipe for Apple, Potato, and Cheddar Soup

Company is coming for dinner and dinner is not ready yet! Serve up some Apple Cheese Spread to keep their hunger at bay.

Click here for the recipe for Apple Cheese Spread

By the way, what IS for dinner? Why not whip up some Sweet and Sour Shrimp and Apples?

Click here for the recipe for Sweet and Sour Shrimp and Apples

Apple Pizza puts a new spin on an old favorite.

Click here for the recipe for Apple Pizza

An unusual but tasty side dish is Golden Delicious Risotto.

Click here for the recipe for Golden Delicious Risotto