By Mike Pound
JOPLIN, Mo. —
John and Barbara Pate know a thing or two about apples. The couple began growing apples on their farm near Stockton in 1979. For years they specialized in growing and selling both peaches and a wide variety of apples. Now the couple is retired, and their son, John Michael, handles the day-to-day operation of the family orchard. Meanwhile his parents, as Barbara said with a laugh, “are the sellers.”
The Pates were at their booth at the Webb City Farmers Market this past Friday selling bags and boxes of Golden Delicious, Jonathan and Jonagold apples. In a few weeks, the Pates plan to add some Mutsu and Winesap apples to their wares. The Mutsu apple is a variety of the Golden Delicious. It’s good for eating fresh, but it also makes excellent pies and sauces, and it freezes well, too. The Winesap, Barbara said, is a “winter apple.” The bright red, juicy Winesap is an excellent apple for both eating fresh and for baking.
There was a time, John Pate said, when the couple was producing a much wider variety of apples, but over time the Pates found that the area apple market isn’t what it once was.
“We couldn’t make any money on them,” John Pate said. “So, at one point I told my son some of those trees are coming out.”
The problem, the Pates said, is that people aren’t eating as many apples as they once did. Most people, John Pate said, buy fresh apples with the intention of eating them quickly rather than preserving them so they will last through the winter.
“People don’t can or put up apples like they used to,” Barbara Pate said.
It’s clear, however, that even eating a few apples a week is a good thing. According to the University of Missouri’s website, plantsci.missouri. edu, an average apple has five grams of fiber, and is a natural source of vitamins A, B1, C and niacin.
In addition, recent studies have shown a natural occurring compound in apples called flavonoids may reduce the risk of heart disease and block the development of certain cancers.
According to the University of Missouri Extension Service, apples freeze well and can be thawed to make great out-of-season additions to a variety of baked goods, salads and poultry stuffing. To freeze apples, simply core, peel and slice them. Dunk the slices in lemon juice to prevent browning and freeze.
The following recipes are provided by the University of Missouri.
“Happy” apple cake
1 package yellow cake mix
11/4 cup water
1/4 cup oil
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup quick oats
3 medium apples, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
Caramel crunch topping:
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup melted butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 13-by-9-by-2-inch rectangular pan. Mix cake mix (dry), water, oil, butter, eggs, oats and graham cracker crumbs in large bowl on low speed. Scrape bowl frequently, approximately every 30 seconds. Fold in cooked apples. Prepare apples by cooking them until tender over medium heat with 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup butter. Pour mix into pan; sprinkle evenly with caramel crunch topping (see directions below). Bake until cake pulls away from sides of pan and wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 38 to 43 minutes; cool completely.
To make the caramel crunch topping, blend with a pastry cutter the graham cracker crumbs, butter and 1/4 cup brown sugar.
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla
11/2 cup flour
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup nuts
3 cup finely chopped raw apples
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons milk
Beat together the eggs and vanilla. Add sugar and shortening. Sift remaining ingredients and add to mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Heat sauce until melted. After cake has cooked 40 minutes remove from oven and pour sauce on cake and bake 20-25 more minutes.
2 teaspoons flour
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 can refrigerator biscuits
1 cup grated mild cheese
2 apples, peeled, cored and grated
Dab of butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Measure the flour, sugar and cinnamon into a small bowl. Mix well. Press or roll biscuits into flat circles and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Sprinkle grated apples on biscuits, then sprinkle with grated cheese. Spoon on brown sugar mixture and dot with butter. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.