The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

October 3, 2012

Cheryle Finley: Apples take on variety of personalities

By Cheryle Finley
Globe Columnist

JOPLIN, Mo. — Although apples are available yearround, I always think they taste better in the fall. The crispness of the apple goes hand in hand with the crispness of the air -- they’re good for breakfast, lunch, dinner or just as a snack. Apples travel well, and satisfy hunger and a sweet tooth.

Not all apples are good for snacking, and not all are suited for making apple pie. Here’s a list of the most popular apples and some of their distinct characteristics as well as their peak season, courtesy of “Taste of Home.”

Cortland -- Has a sweet flavor with a hint of tartness. Good for eating, baking and using in pies, sauces and salads. Season: September through April.

Fuji -- Very sweet, juicy and crisp. Good for eating and using in sauces and salads. Season: October through June.

Gala -- Sweet, juicy and crisp. Good for eating and using in salads. Season: August through December.

Golden Delicious -- Mild, sweet flavor. Juicy and crisp. Good for eating, baking and using in pies, sauces and salads. Season: Year-round.

Granny Smith -- Tart and crisp. Good for eating, baking and using in pies, sauces and salads. Season: Year-round.

Jonathan -- Tart with a hint of spice. Good for eating, baking and using in pies, sauces and salads. Season: September through April.

McIntosh -- Tart, tangy and juicy. Good for eating and using in pies, sauces and salads. Season: September through May.

Pink Lady -- Sweet, tart and crisp. Good for eating, baking and using in salads. Season: October through June.

Red Delicious -- Sweet and crisp. Good for eating and using in salads. Season: Year-round.

Rome Beauty -- Mildly tart and firm. Good for baking and using in pies and sauces. Season: October through May.

Now, from the University of Illinois Extension office, some fun apple facts:

There’s 2,500 varieties of apples grown in the U.S., and 7,500 grown throughout the world. Apples are free of fat, sodium and cholesterol. A medium apple serves up about 80 calories. The apple is a member of the rose family. Next to the orange, the apple is the second most valuable fruit grown in the U.S. In colonial times, the apple was called the winter banana.

For those of you who peel your apples, know that two-thirds of the fiber and much of the antioxidants are found in that peel you are discarding.

With October comes some great fall celebrations, and our area has several to offer. But if you are hankering for a fall road trip and decide to travel to Tualatin, Ore., you will witness the West Coast Giant Pumpkin Regatta on Oct. 20.

First comes the weighing contest. Giant pumpkins compete for bragging rights. And I do mean giant. Last year’s winner tipped the scales at 1,668.5 pounds. After being crowned, the pumpkins are hollowed out and turned into boats. Armed with paddles, contestants race for the finish line, trying to steer this difficult-to-drive floating pumpkin. The participants dress up in costumes for fun and are a sight to see in their surprisingly buoyant vessels. This sounds like a really fun October day to me.

A big thank you to Ed and Ruth Sneed for sharing their crop of Golden Delicious apples with us. They really live up to the delicious in their name. From “Taste of Home” we get the first two recipes. The kraut and apples is something different for dinner from your slow cooker and the chunky applesauce is perfect for those apples available right now. For dessert, the Mountain Dew apple dumplings is a repeat recipe, but it’s one you really need to try. Perfect for family dinners or pot luck, these are fabulous when served warm with a little vanilla ice cream. Or better yet, a lot of vanilla ice cream. Have a wonderful week and happy eating!



Polish kraut and apples

1 (14-ounce) can sauerkraut, rinsed and drained

1 (16-ounce) package smoked Polish sausage or kielbasa, cut into chunks

3 medium tart apples, peeled and cut into eighths

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds, optional

1/8 teaspoon pepper

3/4 cup apple juice

Place half the sauerkraut in an ungreased slow cooker. Top with sausage, apples, brown sugar, caraway seeds and pepper. Top with remaining sauerkraut. Pour apple juice over all. Cover and cook on low 4 to 5 hours or until apples are tender. Yields 4 servings.



Chunky applesauce

8 cups tart apples, chopped and peeled

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in a Dutch oven. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 30 to 40 minutes or until apples are tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and mash apples until sauce is desired consistency. Serve warm or cold. Yields 31/2 cups.



Mountain Dew apple dumplings

2 cans crescent rolls

4 apples

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 cup butter

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 (12-ounce) can Mountain Dew

Peel and slice apples into quarters. Roll each apple piece in one section of crescent roll. Place rolled slices in sprayed 9-by-13-inch baking dish in two rows. Put extras alongside. Melt butter. Add sugar and cinnamon, and pour over dumplings. Pour Mountain Dew over all. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Yields 16 servings.



Address correspondence to Cheryle Finley, c/o The Joplin Globe, P.O. Box 7, Joplin, MO 64802.