I love many types of fruit, but my favourite, for flavour and versatility is the apple. It is no wonder that Eve is traditionally depicted with an apple, although the Bible never tells us which fruit tempted her appetite.
My grandfather planted a large apple orchard on his hobby farm many years ago, and some of my fondest childhood memories are of autumn weekends spent picking the fruit from various trees. My uncle inherited the farm and continued to plant heritage apples, Snows, Tolman Sweets, Russets, Jonathons as well as more common varieties such as Macintosh, Cortland, Spy and Delicious apples. We picked bushels of grounders which Mom made into applesauce. She made a huge bowl of sauce every other day during apple season and the seven of us ate it with muffins or gingerbread for dessert.
I no longer live near “the farm” but I visit our farmers’ market every week or two in order to buy a half bushel of apples. Today was cold and windy, and most of the outdoor vendors have quit the market for this season. There are still lots of apples available though and the heritage varieties can be found, especially from the Old Order Mennonites. I have Mom’s old applesauce sieve, and have found that Cortland apples are the best for applesauce. These apples cook quickly to a soft consistency and the pulp is thick and sweet, seldom needing additional sugar. Apple Fritters are one of the most popular foods sold at the market. The lineup at the counter usually goes far outside the door but many people wait patiently for the hot battered apple rings that are sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. The market was quieter than usual today, and I was able to get the first fritters we have had this year.
But there is nothing better than biting into a hard, juicy apple, fresh from the orchard. If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, I will be healthy for a very long time!