Janet's Notebook
How 'Bout Them Apples? Fall into the Sweetness of Autumn

Golden and Delicious

Caramel apples, apple pie, cobbler, hot cider... this can mean only one thing: autumn is on the way! And for me the cooler days bring with them fond childhood memories of hours spent baking in our warm, family kitchen.

As a child I was pretty sure that adulthood came just as soon as grandma would let me hold the paring knife myself and help her peel those just-picked apples. What a sense of empowerment... and what a challenge to get the peel to come off in one, intact spiral! Then, as today, those springy, red curls may have been my badge of honor, but a warm apple pie at the end of the day is the true reward.

One of my favorite apple pie recipes of late comes from member Gail Herbest whose Blapple Pie combines the classic flavors of apple pie with the blueberries that are so abundant in her home state of Maine.

"I used Maine wild blueberries that are prevalent this time of year," explains Gail. "They are small, so if you use regular blueberries you may want to use only one cup. Also if the type of apples that you choose are known for being juicy add a little extra flour."

Gail raises a very good point: no two apple varieties are exactly the same. And while there are literally thousands of different types of apples in the world, here are a few of the most popular:

GRANNY SMITH - Green and tart, these juicy fellas are a favorite among many bakers. (In fact, they're Gail's apple of choice in her Blapple Pie). They make a terrific presentation and with the right amount of sweetening can be real show-stoppers. Try 'em in Francine Bryson's award-winning Upside Down Apple Pecan Pie. This beautiful recipe won top honors at North Carolina's Apple Cook-Off... and it's tops in our book too! (And psst... we're not sure, but these little guys may just be the secret to Grandma's Secret Apple Brownies, too! These bite-size apple cakes from Vermont's Jessica Harrington are a true breakfast delight!)

RED DELICIOUS - If I had to pick, this variety of apple is probably my favorite. With its pretty red skin and crunchy inside, these guys are ideal for salads or just eating plain!

GOLDEN DELICIOUS - The "golden boy" of the apple world! Available year-round, Golden Delicious are great for baking, freezing or eating raw. In fact, the flesh of the Golden Delicious even stays whiter longer than all other apples. Try them in Marilyn Deacon's Heavenly Hash Fruit Salad. They're... well, heavenly!

FUJI - While not quite as widely available as the Golden Delicious, Fujis have gained popularity over the last few years. And it's no wonder... They're crispy and oh-so juicy. We love them in Gordon Savell's Fruity-Nutty Chicken Salad!

McINTOSH - In the mood for homemade applesauce? Well, then you may want to get acquainted with the McIntosh! These apples have a pretty red and green outside, and an inside that's tender and fairly tart. They make a lovely pink sauce and are also good choices for pies, cobblers and Laura Young's Apple-Cranberry Casserole! We also used them in Laura Geese's terrific Apple Crisp recipe and were thrilled with the results. Great apples, great recipe!

Now how 'bout them apples?! Let's celebrate the change of seasons, the abundance on our tables, and the lasting memories we make together in our kitchens. Happy cooking!

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Laura Geese - Sep 24, 2010
All the recipes look AMAZING! I can't wait to try them!

Eva Buck - Sep 23, 2010
If it would just cool off, I would love to get started baking! It's just still to hot down here to turn on an oven. Been using only the crock pot and microwave for about 2 months now to try to save on electricity and keep the heat down. Only able to use my apples in salads and as snacks for the moment but they are very enjoyable and cooling.
S S - Sep 23, 2010
Mmmm, I can eat them all! I like Gala apples because they are firm like Granny Smith apples, but they have a light, sweet taste...not at all bitter.
Mary Braxton - Sep 21, 2010
those apples will go very well in the apple pie i'm going to make on sunday!!!!
Smarticia Khata - Sep 21, 2010
SUCH a pretty picture. I am ready for Fall now - and an apple! Thanks for all the info. SK