For me, the best part of fall besides college football season, is apples. I am, and have been as long as I can remember, an apple a day gal. You can drop one in your bag and carry it around with you for days without it going bad. When you pick 40 pounds at the orchard, you don’t have to go home and deal with them immediately, you have a few days, weeks even. They bake, stew, fry and cover themselves in caramel quite beautifully. They are, hands down, my most favorite food. I always, always have apples on hand. Always. They are one of the few foods I break my usual must eat local rules for. This past year though, thanks to the Local Food Hub I was able to eat local apples through spring without having to store them myself. They are the best though, and you get the best selection of them, when they are fresh and in season.
As a kid, red delicious was the way to go. Somewhere along the way, I discovered the fuji, and from there, it became the stayman, the pippin, the ginger gold, smokehouse, and the best of all, the Arkansas black. I stumbled across the Arkansas Black (sometimes also called black stem) one year and have been in love ever since. So many apple varieties, so little time. If I see a variety I’ve never heard of before, I need to buy a few to try them. Other than the grocery store Red Delicious, a childhood favorite now throw to the wayside, I have never met an apple I didn’t like.
Currently, I probably have close to 40 pounds of apples laying around my house – 4 different varieties. Last Friday night when I didn’t feel like cooking dinner, I made an apple crisp. Sunday after picking? Baked a pie and made one for the freezer. Tonight I made caramel apples with homemade caramel. The first time I’ve ever made my own caramel – who knew it was that easy? And that good? I want to get a few more pies in the freezer. And a batch or two of apple butter made.
I love apples. They are low maintenance, easy to travel with food you can eat right out of hand. How can you go wrong with that?