The Apple of my Eye
One of my favorite sayings is “An apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” Or, how about, “Does one bad apple spoil the whole bunch?” There is a reason that so many proverbs involve apples, rather than bananas or mangoes, and it’s not just because “the banana of my eye” sounds funny. Apples have long been recognised as the world’s most perfect fruit: beautiful, delicious, and superbly healthy. After all, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” right?
Unfortunately, that last proverb kinda makes you wonder if anyone is paying attention. Most of the apple varieties you find in grocery stores are all perfect, shiny, and of exactly the same size and shape. They are mass-produced for beauty, and unfortunately taste and nutrition have been forgotten. Lucky for us, as Tucsonans we have some of the best, juiciest, tastiest apples available, and they are brought out to the farmers’ market week after week.
Now, I am not talking about the average Red Delicious or Granny Smith mass-marketed version, but juicy-sweet Pink Ladys, Sundowner, Honeycrisps, Galas, and my personal favorite, Ambrosias. Did you know that there are over 7,000 varieties of apples? Wilcox has the perfect soil, temperatures, water and bonzai pruning techniques to bring out the best in these delectable delights. These and other varieties are available only at the farmers’ markets, and we are all in appreciation to growers like English Family Apple Orchards and Briggs & Eggers, who are cultivating and grafting newer and heirloom varieties that make for that incredible flavor. So as you are perusing the farmers’ market for your seasonal selection of greens, winter squash, and beets, keep an eye out for those amazing apples. Allow yourself to become inspired by the world’s perfect fruit! Make sure you ask your grower for a sample taste–you may find that perfect apple for a delicious weekend apple pie or take home a ½ gallon of fresh pressed apple cider.
In closing, I am keenly aware of that beautiful small apple sitting on my desk in special reserve for my afternoon snack. I ponder the smell of a great apple crisp that is looming in my future. Perhaps a mix of a couple of different varieties may make for a delicious Thanksgiving treat. I can picture it now…the apple of my eye!
By Roxanne Garcia
Apple oatmeal crisp
Makes 9 servings
5-6 apples, sliced
2/3 c brown sugar
1/3 c flour
2/3 c oatmeal
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1 c chopped nuts (I prefer pecans)
1/3 c melted butter
1. Place sliced apples in 9-inch-square baking
dish treated with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Mix together brown sugar, flour, oatmeal,
nutmeg, cinnamon and nuts.
Add melted butter, and stir. Sprinkle
3. Bake at 375 degrees 30 minutes, or until
apples are tender and topping is browned