I just rearranged the refrigerator to fit 4 half-peck bags of Jonagold apples, enough to fill the bathtub 1/4 full. Crisp, sweet, and golden-red in color these apples are my new favorites. We went a bit overboard while apple picking at Quonquont Farm last Saturday. It was hard not to. The apples were perfect in color, shape and flavor and in part, it was the thrill of the pick. That and a wedding ceremony was about to take place several rows behind us. Seven rows of white folding chairs were set between rows of McIntosh and Jonagold trees. Two guests were seated in the back watching the scene unfold. Groomsmen lined up for photos in their tuxedos while we watched from the soon to be blurred background. A woman and a small girl fussed over a flower arrangement set near the altar. It made me want to walk down the aisle again.
Since the great harvest, we’ve been eating or juicing at least two apples a day and my latest quest is to explore the myriad of recipes for this all-purpose variety.
Cored, peeled, and quartered, these apples make a great naked applesauce by themselves. A food mill takes the work out of coring and peeling the apples, but makes sauce just the same without it. While I like my applesauce plain, there are times when I want a bit of seasoning. For a savory sauce try fresh cracked black pepper, roasted garlic, grated ginger, or fresh or dried chilies and for a sweet one try raw honey, maple syrup, or brown sugar, with any combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves cardamom, fennel, star anise, and ginger. I like to make a big pot of the plain sort and freeze it to use for baking. Cook in a large pot or dutch oven with enough water to cover the apples along with a pinch of salt. Cover the pot and turn the heat to medium until the water boils. Then uncover, stir, and cook the apples until they are soft and mushy. Cool before storing in the refrigerator or freezer.
Another favorite to serve alone, with a dollop of plain yogurt or ice cream (for a more decadent dessert), on top of oatmeal or pancakes, or as a sweet crepe filling with a few walnuts and maple syrup added. Core and slice 6 apples and bake at 400F for 30 minutes in a covered baking or roasting dish.
I used the recipe from Paul Pitchford’s book Healing with Whole Foods. No sweeteners are used, just the fruit itself and its juice. The apples are the stars of the dish along with some rolled oats, lemon juice, toasted sesame seeds, almond flour, whole wheat flour, cinnamon, and salt for the crumb. Light and flavorful with a slow melt in your mouth finish.
Quarter the apples and plunge them into the juicer. Nothing could be easier or more refreshing. Add some ginger, carrots, beets, and garlic for a warming fall treat. Or leave the apples, just as they are.