“Surely the apple is the noblest of fruits.” - Thoreau
September 27, 2020
As we come to the end of September our attention turns to the distinctive autumn fruits that are being harvested. Creamy pears, tart cranberries, sweet figs and crisp apples are all in season. Luckily for us, Sussex county is home to many wonderful orchards, which are currently in full swing! Our little homestead is within walking distance of one of the orchards and access to all that fresh fruit is a blessing.
Apples are one of the most versatile and nutritious fruits. There are over 7,500 varieties of apples around the world. And 2,500 are grown here in the United States. Something I learned after talking to local farmers was that apples are not a native fruit. Only the crab apple tree is native. All other varieties were brought here from Europe and Asia through trade routes or by settlers. Apples have a compelling history. They have been part of the human story since ancient times. It is the fruit of mythology (Aphrodite and Trojan War) and of the Bible (Eve and the snake). They have been seen in poetry, songs, legends and fairy tales. The oldest reference to a species of apple comes from southern Italy when Pliny the Elder wrote of the Annurca, in his “Naturalis Historia”. Today it is considered the oldest apple variety. So as we indulge in this delicious natural treat, is it amazing to think we are sharing history with humans of the earliest days.
Through the centuries botanists and farmers have been persistent in their pursuit of the perfect apple. Their efforts have given us such a plethora of choices. There are differences in size, color, taste and texture. There are those that are perfect for eating raw and those that hold up beautifully in baking and cooking. Everyone has their favorites and we in the Green Cart Kitchen are no different. For an eating apple we always grab a honey crisp, for pies it's granny smiths, for salads, Cortlands. What we like to do in our catering business is to use seasonal produce in uncommon ways. So while we will bake pies, muffins and cakes with apples it is also fun to surprise our clients with unexpected dishes. A favorite has become our wraps filled with apple fennel slaw or our samosas and apple chutney. Roasted carrots and apples are wonderful when topped with warm spices. Kale, apple quinoa salad with creamy dressing is a delight and parsnip apple soup is perfect on a cool autumn day. As you go through the month of October we hope you will experiment with some new ways to enjoy this winning fruit. We will too, beginning this evening with warm cinnamon cider and pumpkin apple quesadillas outside by a crackling fire.