October Ingredient of the Month

I had a great time with my September Ingredient of the Month, Butternut Squash.  For a quick recap, this is what I made: Butternut Squash Fries, Cinnamon Butternut Squash Muffins, Vanilla Butternut Squash Risotto, and Butternut Squash Ravioli w/ Sage Brown Butter Sauce.

4 very different recipes - but all equally delicious. :)

So, for October, I've decided to continue with the Fall theme.  There are so many great ingredients out there to choose from.  But this month, I've decided to focus on... APPLES!!

Photo from travel.latimes.com 

I love apples, and they can be used in so many ways, savory or sweet! Now, as you can probably tell from my blog, I'm not much of a baker, so don't expect to see lots of pies, tarts, cakes and cookies. :)  But, don't worry, I'll get the sweet in there. :)

I've used apples before in my cooking, usually paired with pork or chicken.  I really want to give apple butter a try, and I have a few other ideas up my sleeve.  You'll just have to stay tuned to find out. :)

So - what about apples?

From Wikipedia:
The apple is the pomaceous fruit from the apple tree, one of the most widely cultivated fruit trees.

Interesting Fact: Apples appear in many religious traditions, often as a mystical or forbidden fruit. (We all know the Adam/Eve saga.) One of the problems in identifying apples in religion, mythology or folklore is that the word 'apple' was used as a generic term for all (foreign) fruit, excluding berries but including nuts, up into the 17th century.

For home storage of apples, most varieties can be stored for up to 2 weeks when kept in the coldest part of the refrigerator.  And a few varieties, Fuji and Granny Smith, for example, have an even longer shelf life.

Apples can be canned, juiced and fermented and made into cider or wine.  They are often baked or stewed, and can be dried and eaten or re-constituted for later use.

Research suggest that apples may prevent the risk of colon cancer, prostate cancer and lung cancer. They may also help with heart disease, weight loss and controlling cholesterol, as they have no cholesterol, have fiber, and are bulky for their caloric content.

Check out All About Apples and see how many different varieties there are, and get some information on each. I definitely had no idea there were this many.  Here are a few facts about the more widely known (from bestapples.com and professorshouse.com):

Red Delicious - crunchy with a mildly sweet flavor; great for eating out of hand or in salads
Golden Delicious - mellow and sweet; great for eating out of hand, baking and in salads
Gala - crisp, sweet and snappy; great for snacking and salads; can be a bit bland when baked
Fuji - super-sweet and crisp; excellent for baking and salads
Granny Smith - tart, crisp, juicy and versatile; pie-makers first choice; great for sauces
McIntosh - spicy, aromatic and juicy; good for pie apples and excellent for snacking

Probably enough information for now.  Check back soon for the first recipe!


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