An Apple A Day
Get the most from your seasonal pickings
Every year I make it a point to learn more about our local food. Having the opportunity to work with farmers at local markets not only educates me more about the food they grow, but shows me how much love goes into feeding our communities. This year, I focused on learning more about apples, one of my favourite fruits.
The local farm that I work with, Willowtree Farm, had 11 different varieties of apples this year! Yes. You read that right. 11 different varieties between early September to late October. And that’s only a small portion of what we grow in Ontario.
Keep in mind, even though you can eat them all, some are best eaten raw, and others cooked. Here are a few of my favourite apples, and some great recipes to follow!
Crunchy, sweet or tart, eating apples should be juicy, and are always best eaten fresh off the tree (if only we could each have personal apple trees in our backyard.) Most people’s go-to apple these days seems to be the Honey Crisp. Although I can’t deny that they are tasty, personally, I find them more watery than juicy. This is an important difference when it comes to the apple’s taste.
After trying several different varieties of eating apples, here are my top 3 favourites!
Golden Delicious - Early September
Crisp texture, sweet but mildly tart, the golden delicisous is a great apple to kick off apple season!
These do not discolour when cut, making them a perfect choice for late summer salads or fruit plates. Be mindful though, you should eat them as soon as possible because they do not store too well.
Ambrosia Apple - Mid September
This is my alternative to the Honey Crisp Apple. With a very distinct perfumed aroma, a tender juicy flesh with a crisp texture and a strong honey flavour this is my favourite apple of all.
This apple also has a very low acid content, making it easy to digest, especially for children and older adults. They also brown very slowly, which makes them the perfect choice for a salad or a fruit plate.
Russett Apple - end of october
Fine sweet/sour taste - perfect for munching, making cider and drying. The russet apple can be stored for a little while, and will disappear from the markets after Christmas.
These are an older looking apple, but have an incredible taste, and have a similar texture to pears!
Note: Many of us like to eat our apple as a snack or after a meal, when in fact the best time to eat one is 15 minutes before a big meal. This allows fiber contents, found in the apple, to give you the sensation of feeling full so you are eating less of your meal.
From sweet to savory dishes, using the right cooking apple can make the difference between a good dish, and an amazing one! Here is a list of my favourite cooking apples, and how to get the most out of them! Seasonal recipes at the end!
Empire - Fall to early winter
A cross between McIntosh and Red Delicious apples, they have a firm texture and a sweet-tart taste.
Empires are all-purpose apples, good for juices, sauces, pies, salads, drying and eating fresh. They can be roasted and baked, and are best paired with chicken, pumpkin, sharp cheeses, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Spy for Pies - fall season
Crisp, white, juicy flesh with a sweet-tart flavor, this is also a very versatile apple. They can be used raw, baked, roasted, sautéed, puréed, although my favourite use for them are in pies, tarts and cobblers. These are also and well known for making amazing cider. Spy apples store very well, so make sure you stock up!
Cortland: fall season
With their bright red skin, snowy white flesh, juicy and slight tartiness, Cortland apples are excellent for salads and cheese plates. They also look the best because they do not discolour fast! My favourite use for them are in soups, sauces and preserves because of their sweet & tart flavour.
3 Recipes That Will Make You Love Cooking Apples!
Fall Endive Salad With Empire & Cortland Apples
. 4 Sliced endives
. 2 Celery stalk - chopped
. 1 Small Cortland & Empire apple diced with skin
. 5 Figs diced with the skin
. 5 Small radishes thinly sliced
. 5 Slices of bacon cut and fried
. 1 cup of Walnut halves coarsely chopped
. 1 cup Blue cheese or goats cheese
. 1tbsp Mustard
. 4tbsp White wine vinegar
. 4tbsp Avocado oil (or vegetable oil)
. 4tbsp Walnut oil
. Salt and pepper to taste
In a large salad bowl, mix the mustard, salt, pepper and vinegar. Add the oil & mix well. Add the endives, celery, figs, apples, walnut, bacon, cheese and mix well in the dressing. Add salt and pepper if necessary.
Chicken Stir-Fry With Ontario Apples (Cortland or Empire)
. 1bls boneless skinless chicken breast or chicken thighs
. 3 Celery stalk - sliced
. 2 Garlic cloves - minced
. 2tbsp Fresh grated ginger
. 1 Onion - sliced
. 2 Ontario apples - cored and cut into wedges
. 2 cup Dry Chinese noodles
. 1cup Chicken stock
. 2tbsp Rice vinegar
. 2tbsp Soya sauce
. 2tbsp Dry herbs
. 1tbsp Chili powder
. 6tbsp Coconut oil
. 1tbsp Ontario Maple Syrup
. Salt and pepper to taste
Bring 1L of water to a boil, add Chinese noodles. Bring back to boil, let cook for 2 minutes. Transfer to a strainer and set aside.
Heat 2tbsp coconut oil in a heavy skillet or wok on medium heat. Add the minced garlic with the ginger. Do not let it go brown.
Stir in the chicken, add dry herbs, salt and pepper. Cooked until brown. Remove from the wok and set aside. Heat 1tbsp coconut oil on high heat add onions, celery and cook until golden. Remove and set aside. Heat 1tbsp coconut oil, stir in the apples with 1tbsp of maple syrup then set aside. Heat the last 2tbsp of coconut oil, stir the noodles, cook them to your taste (soft or crispy). Stir in the onions & celery, then add the chicken, garlic, ginger on medium heat. Add in your noodles, let simmer for 5 minutes then mix in the apples and bring it down to a low heat.
In the meantime, in a separate small pan on low heat, whisk together the chicken stock with 1 or 2tbsp of corn starch. Add soya sauce, chili powder, and rice vinegar, and let it thicken slightly. Pour onto the stir fry and serve.
Almond, Apple & Chocolate Brookies - With Spy Apples
. 70g Butter
. 90g Brown sugar
. 150g Flour
. 1 small Egg
. 1tsp Baking powder
. 30g Almonds - chopped
. 20g Sliced Almonds
. 140g Dark chocolate
. 80g Butter
. 100g Brown sugar
. 60g Flour
. 2 small Eggs
. 3 to 4 Apples
. 3 tbsp Brown sugar or maple syrup
. 10g Butter
Preheat your oven to 375ºF
1.Start with the Brownie:
Place the coarsely chopped dark chocolate and the butter in a bowl over low heat, and let it melt. In another bowl whisk the sugar and the eggs until fluffy. Whisk in the melted chocolate mixture. Add the flour and continue to mix well. Pour the brownie into a square mold lined with a baking sheet.
2. Peel, core and dice the apples.
Brown the butter in a pan over high heat, stir in the apples, pour the maple syrup and let it fry for few minutes, until apples are slightly golden. Spread the apples over the Brownie.
3. Make the cookie.
Mix butter and sugar together. Add the egg and mix well. Stir in flour and baking powder adding the chopped almonds at the end. Mix well.
Spread the cookie mix over the apples, sprinkle the sliced almonds over to finish off the soon-to-be decadent brookie. Put in the oven for about 35 to 40 minutes. To check if cooked, stab the center of the brookie with a knife. If the tip comes out dry, then your brookie is ready!
Thanks for following!
- Catherine Dubois