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September 2012

Mary's Modern Homemaking

Apples: Best Candy Ever
By Mary Frances

Mary's Modern Homemaking archive

 


Tasty apples, homegrown in Washington
~ photo by Leslie Phillips ~

 

What's the best candy ever? Apples are! Apples? you ask. How can an apple be like candy? Well, some are sweet, others tart, and all are great to eat.

We all know that God created them, that Johnny Appleseed spread seeds that helped apples grow throughout the country. But did you know there was another pioneer who helped spread them to Oregon? Henderson Luelling and his family brought 700 of their best fruit trees from Iowa to Oregon by wagon train back in the late 1800s. And yes, all the children came, too!

Dinner and a Lesson

Being the history lover that I am I decided to pull my family together for a dinner and a lesson. The whole meal centered around apples. I decorated with anything that had an apple on it. My apple tablecloth, an apron with apples all over, and any other apple décor I could find. I served up pork chops and apples cooked with sauerkraut. Since pork and apples go so well together, you could put them together in any main dish. Dessert was—what else—apple crisp!

For fun, we read and discussed Apples to Oregon by Deborah Hopkinson. Since this book is written for children, one might consider it a "tall tale," but it is educational as well. We learned that all things are possible no matter what. The family had a goal and the desire to bring apples to the state of Oregon. Nothing, but nothing, would stop them! All the obstacles that came their way could not break this family's spirit.

 


Apples to Oregon is a fun book to read.

 

We played a game I found online. The Washington State Apple Commission has so much information about locally grown apples, along with fun games to print out and play. To find these, click on the "Kids" button. I chose Washington Apple Varieties. (Click on the "Teacher's Corner" sign, then click "Print and use games" to find "Washington Apple Varieties" in the Word Searches section.) We learned about the twelve most popular ones. To make things more exciting, to hand out to the winner, I chose little prizes, each with an apple theme. Check out your state commissioner's Web page to see what it has to offer.

A Candy Store in Autumn

Hopefully by now you are drooling for a bite. Just one sweet or tart bite. A trip to your local farmers market will satisfy your need. I like to think of the market as a candy store in the autumn. Here you will find all the fresh apples that autumn has to offer. Red ones, green ones, golden yellows, reddish-greens. They are all here for the picking. You will have a choice between sweet ones like the Red Delicious; tart ones like the Granny Smith; or maybe something in between like Galas or Fujis. With all this goodness, who needs Sour Patch Kids or Sweet Tarts? To substitute for candy apples or caramel-coated ones, a Cameo will do—and without the added sugar.

Applesauce and Other Treats

What about when fall is over and you still want an apple? They preserve extremely well. Applesauce can be made up and canned or frozen. Simply slice up a few Granny Smiths and put the slices into two-cup bags for freezing and using in pies, cobblers, crisps, or Apple Bettys. How about dehydrating a bunch? Simply slice very thinly, remove any seeds, and place on a cookie sheet in a 200-degree oven for 2 to 3 hours or until all moisture is gone. Great for munching, lunches, or whenever you feel like snacking.

Have a longing for old-fashioned apple butter? Oh yeah, my favorite. Try it on toast with peanut butter or on hotcakes for breakfast.

Chew on This

One last tidbit about the apple. Did you know it helps to keep your teeth clean? That's right. When it is impossible to brush and floss, eat an apple. The inside of an apple acts like a toothbrush and helps sweeten your breath. The apple skin acts like floss by getting into the gums while you chew and helps release any food particles. Now do not take this as a way to avoid brushing and flossing, and by all means continue good oral care. But during those times when it is not possible to brush your teeth properly, eat an apple!

 

 

Mary Frances lives in Ravensdale, Washington, and loves finding healthy ways to keep her castle clean. She believes that what we clean with can be just as important to our health as what we eat. When she's not cleaning, Mary Frances battles the blackberry vines in her yard. Also enjoy Mary Frances's blog, All American Gal.

 

Mary's Modern Homemaking copyright 2013.
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