Friday, November 02, 2007

Friday Fruits: Apples

Fruit =
The ripened, fully developed ovary of a
flower containing 1 or more seeds.

This is the time of year when we enjoy the flowers of spring and summer in the form of fruit. Wild berries adorn shrubs and trees as leaves fall to the ground. Markets now feature our winter fruits and vegetables that can be kept in cold storage until early spring. Our local fruit season starts with strawberries, then cherries, apricots, peaches, raspberries, blueberries, plums, melons and more. The fall season brings local grapes, pears and finally apples.

Grandma always said the best apples are available after the first frost. My grandfather bought land near the town where they lived and planted pines and apple trees many years ago. After Granddad's death, my uncle managed the orchard and we spent many fall weekends picking apples for him and grounders for our family. The Devins orchard is still in operation in its 85th year and is managed by my cousin and her husband.

I have often thought about what fruit I would label as my favourite. I love many different local and tropical fruits but if I had to pick just one, it would be the apple. Few fruits are as versatile and enjoyed in so many ways. I regularly eat raw apples, applesauce, apple butter, apple cider, apple pie, apple fritters, baked apples, dried apples, apple crisp, apples with turnip or cabbage, and apples in muffins, cakes and other baked goods.

They are available locally throughout the winter and I can purchase half-bushels at the market or a local Mennonite farm from $5-12 depending on the grade. The family orchard had several heritage apple varieties including Snows, Wealthys, and Tolman Sweets. My maiden name is Tolman, a rather uncommon surname, but used to identify a type of green apple. There is one vendor at our market who sells heritage fruit at his stall. My favourite cooking apple is the Cortland as it cooks to a soft consistency and makes the best applesauce. Some people favour Spy apples for cooking as they keep their form when baked.

My mother always handed out apples to trick or treaters in October. Those were the times when we also received home made treats like popcorn balls or fudge and carried UNICEF boxes to collect loose change. Apples would be thrown out of loot bags now, but there is no fruit that says fall like an apple.

What is your favourite fruit?


  1. Ruth,

    I agree with you wholeheartedly. Apples are delicious and they have many health benefits. Grandma also liked apples to be nipped by a bit of frost. She used spies. I have used many varieties in my baking.

    Have you ever had fried apples. They are delicious. I made some the other evening. Just a little butter and let them cook on low heat until they are translucent.

    Thanks for commenting on my diabetes post. It's always nice to have you drop by for a visit.

    Have a terrific weekend.

  2. If grandma was right, apples should be fantastic right now. :)

  3. We love apples too. So versatile. When we are doing the no sugar, no flour cleanse/diet (which we are starting Monday) we just smear apple slices with almond/hazelnut butter ... pears are equally as good eaten so. Easy and it fills the "need for dessert" spot. I have 3 or 4 different kinds on hand at present.

  4. Apples are right up there - we try to eat one per day. W's mom used to have a small apple orchard and we have 1 tree although not allowed to set fruit due to coddling moth problem. We have to get our 2 cherry, 1 plum and 1 apple tree sprayed or the district will cut them down - our cherries are great - the poor little plum doesn't fare too well.

  5. Anonymous6:37 pm GMT-4

    Tolman Gold's, who'd of known... We have an apple named after us :-P

    Pomegranates are my favorite. They are not near as good here in Washington State as they were in Spain though.

  6. Anonymous8:25 pm GMT-4

    As usual I get a little homesick when I read your blogs and this is no exception. We also had an apple in Granddad's orchard that when ripe you could shake and distinctly hear the seeds rattle. Have lost track of the name.
    Please make a big bowl of applesauce for me - my favorite of all apple dishes with fresh gingerbread & whipped cream.
    Mexico Mom

  7. Applies deserve a nice post like this.

    I enjoyed three McIntosh apples today. My favorite apple, for it's sweet and tart taste.

    Love Mangos, though.

  8. While I love apples (and have two bags sitting on my kitchen counter right now) and agree with their overall versatility, my favorite fruit would have to be the peach. I love peaches--but it's a tough choice as I really love all fruit, and have a hard time settling on just one.

  9. Mary from ON- I noticed the fried apples on your blog and will have to try them. I don't have one apple in the house today, but will fix that tomorrow!

    AC- I am going to a orchard tomorrow so I will find out!

    CS- Your cleanse diet sounds yummy. Sugar and flour do me no good at all!

    Jean- I had one batch of unsprayed apples this year and there were plenty of worms. I made them into applesauce but didn't mention the worms to my family. I don't like the thought of sprays, but they do keep a lot of pests and disease away.

    Jaspenelle- Pomegranates are good, but I always have a sore tongue by the time I finish with all those seeds. I always spray red juice on my clothes too.

    Mom- I am sure the farm is very nostalgic for you. I looked up the apple you mentioned, and I even have a picture of it on this post. I am going to buy some and check out the rattle.

    "Cox apples must be one of the most well-known and favoured varieties of English apples, taking their name from horticulturalist and retired brewer Richard Cox. Cox’s apples are dual purpose (both dessert and cooking apples) and have a distinctive rich and aromatic flavour. The skin is matt brown russeted, particularly around the stem, with autumnal colours of orange, red and yellow over a dull brownish green. They are said to be the only apple that you can shake and hear the seeds rattle. Several variants of Cox are now available such as the Crimson Cox, the Queen Cox, and the King Cox, but The Cox remains the champion for flavour, texture and keeping qualities. Around 82 million Cox’s apples are picked in Britain every year. Picked in late September, they still need time to mature off the tree, and are ready to eat in October/early November. They can be stored up until February."

    Mary- Eating an apple before each meal is supposed to help keep weight off. I love yellow mangoes that are truly ripe.

  10. Donna- You comment came in while I was posting a comment. I think many ripe fruits in season would tie for first place in flavour. Peaches in season are hard to beat and can be served in lots of ways too. We had peach chutney with our homemade Indian curry tonight. Yum!

  11. Strawberries, of course!

  12. Though it is hard to avoid pomegranate seeds but you can avoid the juice problem by separating peel and pith from seed under water in the sink. All the waste will float and the seeds will sink.

  13. Hi Ruth,
    I have LOTS of apples this year from my 2 trees. I hope to get some made into sauce and more apple butter, but seem to have more ambition than time, so I'm guessing quite a few of those apples will become deer and bunny treats this winter.

    It's hard for me to pick a favorite fruit because I like them all, but fresh strawberries would probably win as the fave.

  14. I love apples as well. Such a dependable fruit! And, so many varieties too. I lean towards the more crisp, tart ones like Pink Lady, Braeburn etc.

  15. Cox in England are known as "Cox Pippin Orange", a very old variety. I'm with Jayne on favouring Pink Lady. Crisp, tart, juicy and delicious.

  16. I just love this time of the year with the apples! But, I am an Empire Apple person! LOL

  17. Anonymous4:41 pm GMT-4

    Oh my gosh... this post literally made my mouth water. I like fresh cortlands when they are still crisp. I like Ida Reds, too.

    I have to go make an apple crisp now!

  18. Laura- I look forward to our 3-4 week local strawberry harvest every year. But you can keep the big hard imported ones we have the rest of the year.

    Jaspenelle- I will have to try that. Pomegranates are in season again and are reasonably priced at the store.

    RuthieJ- I make a batch of applesauce every week here. My mother made one every other day! Leave some apples for the deer for sure.

    Jayne- Pink Lady and Braeburn are good eating apples for sure!

    Karen and Mike- I wonder what the origin of that name is? What a title for am apple.

    Monarch- The Empire Loyalists came to Canada long ago after the American Revolution ;-)

    Jennifer- Eating apples need to be crisp for sure. Cortlands do soften up quickly. Hope you enjoyed your apple crisp.

  19. My favorite fruit is probably cherries-especailly in a pie.My favorite local apples for eating raw are Macoun.

  20. Wow, lots of people liked your apple post, myself included!

    When I grew up in Africa, we could buy apples in the capital city (a day's drive away), but they sold for about $10.00 apiece, so we didn't usually get any.

    I love the apfelstrudel here in Germany and we have a farm nearby that sells fresh-picked apples.

  21. Larry- I have not heard of Macoun apples. I like sour cherries in pies and sweet ones to eat raw.

    AK- German apple strudel is hard to beat. We can buy it fresh at the market and it disappears quickly. The $10 apples were likely imported and tasted lousy...just like the awful papayas in our grocery stores!


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