With autumn come apples. Bushels and bushels of apples. Apples in the store, apples in your yard, apples in your neighbor's yard, apples in your friends' neighbors' yards.
What to do with all them apples?
But before we decide, a note on how to store them properly.
If you buy apples in bags with perforation, refrigerate them in the bags. Place loose apples in a covered container to help maintain proper humidity and prevent them from absorbing other food odors.
If they are in bushels or half bushels, they will keep best in a cool, humid cellar. Line the basket with aluminum foil or polyethylene to help prevent moisture loss. To increase humidity, you might even place a small container of water among the apples or cover the basket or box with moist towels.
If the apples are brown near the core, they have been stored at too low a temperature.
When thinking about apples, people naturally turn to desserts, turnovers and pies. But apples can be tantalizing in savory dishes as well. Pork and apple, chicken and apple, apple and cheese crepes, apple/cabbage saute' -- the list is endless. A medium-size apple contains only 85 calories, and retails for about 89 cents a pound, so using it in a mealis healthful as well as economical. For a quick side dish for eight, mix together in a large pot: 1 pound shredded red cabbage, 2 cups chopped apples, 1/4 cup melted butter, 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 15 to 20 minutes.
When working with apples, to keep them from discoloring slip them into a bowl of water that is lightly salted or mixed with a little lemon juice or vinegar.
Also, three medium apples equal one pound or three cups of peeled and sliced apples.
For a treat, make apple leather. Use ripe or overripe apples; peel if desired, then core and cut in chunks. Pure'e in food chopper or blender. For a lighter color, add one tablespoon of lemon or lime juice for each quart of fruit. Line a cookie sheet or tray with waxed paper and pour in the blended fruit about 1/4 inch deep. Set oven at its lowest temperature (140 degrees); place trays inside and leave the oven door open from two to six inches. The apple leather will be dried in four to five hours.
To turn your thoughts to entrees with apples, here is a recipe with an unusual mixture of flavors. If you have butter, salt and pepper, it will take just a snap through the express lane.
Express lane list: apples, shrimp, scallops, garlic, rice, apple cider, paprika, parsley SEAFOOD APPLE CASSEROLE (4 servings)
6 medium apples
1/2 cup butter
1/2 pound shrimp
1/2 cup scallops
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 1/2 cups boiled rice
1/2 cup apple cider
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tablespoon curry or to taste
Parsley for garnishing
Peel and dice apples. Saute' over medium heat in 2 tablespoons butter for about 15 minutes. When apples are cooked, pure'e them.
Saute' the garlic in 2 tablespoons butter for 3 minutes. Add shrimp and scallops and saute' for 2 minutes over medium heat.
Spread rice evenly in 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Spread apple pure'e evenly on top of rice with apple cider. Without draining the cooking butter, neatly arrange shrimp and scallops on top. Salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle with curry. Pour 1/4 cup melted butter over all.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Garnish with parsley.
Note: Onions may be added for extra flavor when cooking the apples. Fillet of sole may be used instead of shrimp and scallops.
From: "Apple Orchard Cook Book," by Janet M. Christensen and Betty Bergman Levin (Berkshire Traveller Press, 1978).