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Making the Most of Apple Season

 
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Apple picking season is one of the sweetest times of year and we’re fortunate to live in an area that offers quite a few “pick your own” fruit farms and orchards. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of Apple Season – from fun-filled orchard exploration to preparing fall flavored treats at home:

Head Over to Your Local Orchard:
The easiest way to prepare for your apple picking adventure is by visiting pickyourown.com for a full listing of orchards in East Tennessee and Western North Carolina. You'll go for the apples, but the best part is everything that goes along with it. Running around an orchard, it's easy to find yourself meandering off to select the perfect pumpkin, sip on hot apple cider, inhale a brown bag of cider donuts, and join in on a late fall afternoon hay ride. These are all essential ingredients for a perfect afternoon any weekend in September and even October.

"Select firm, bruise-free apples and pick them by rolling the apple upwards and off the branch with a little twist."

Carefully Select the Finest Fruits:
Once you arrive at your chosen orchard, check with the grower, who will know which trees are bearing ripe fruit. Select firm, bruise-free apples and pick them by rolling the apple upwards and off the branch with a little twist. Be sure to leave the stem on all apples as it helps them store longer. Gently place your apples in a basket and don't wash them until right before they're used in order to prevent spoiling.

Safe Storage at Home:
Apples last longest in cool places. Storing them in a cool basement is best, but the vegetable drawer in your refrigerator works well, too. Apples also love humidity. Placing a wet paper towel in their storage area will help keep the apple’s skin from shriveling. Remember, never place apples in an environment where they can freeze. And contrary to popular belief, don’t store apples with potatoes as they release a gas that makes apples spoil faster.

Does An Apple A Day Really Keep the Doctor Away?
In a word – yes! Apples are a super food. Of all the fruits and veggies in your home, apples are the top ranked antioxidant. High in fiber and Vitamin A, apples are also fat, cholesterol, and sodium free. This tasty 80 calorie snack helps fight aging, cancer, and heart disease. A sweet treat that’s healthy too? You just can’t beat it.

canned applesWhat To Do With All Of These Apples?
Mast General Store offers a host of items that will help make your apple consumption, storage, and canning a quick and easy process. The Fox Run Stainless Steel Apple Corer removes the stem and seeds in a jiff with its easy grip, comfortable handle.  Once you’ve cored your apple, fill the center with a brown sugar and cinnamon mixture and bake. This is easy and tasty dessert is sure to please anyone with a sweet tooth in your family.

If you plan to process quite a few apples for recipes or consumption, the Apple Peeler/Corer Machine by Harold Import Company will help prepare these prolific fruits in 2 shakes of a lamb’s tail.  This machine features a suction mount that grips any surface securely, so you’ll be cruising through your bushel in no time.

The Canning Food Press and Pestle from Mirro proves a very useful tool for canning preparation. There’s no need to hassle with peeling your produce because the press removes seeds and skins together, making it super simple to process your apples as well as other fruits and veggies. You’ll be churning out jelly, jam, sauces, and salsas lickety-split. Just press away with the pestle, just like Grandma used to.

apple-cookbook.jpgOne of our favorite resources at Mast General Store is the Apple Cookbook by Olwen Woodier. This wonderful paperback is full of recipes for all kinds of apples. From Red Delicious picked up at your corner grocery store or Rhode Island Greening gathered at the local farmers market, this cookbook offers breakfast, lunch, dessert, and dinner recipe options to fit every palate. Offering over 150 recipes, you’re sure to find an apple dish that’ll please every member in your family.

In Colonial times, apples were called “winter bananas” or “melt in the mouth.” Whatever you call your favorite kind of apple, may you enjoy picking, cooking, and most all consuming this fantastic fruit this fall!