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A seed hidden in the heart of an apple is an orchard invisible.

~ Welsh Proverb ~
 
























Sweet & Delicious


As the leaves and the temperature fall, it is the perfect time to spend some time in the kitchen. Baking. And what’s better to bake than pie? And what’s the best kind of pie? Apple! Well, it might not be your favorite, but it is mine! Reading apple pie recipes has me thinking about the history of the fruit...

Mythology from many cultures include the apple, and today they are grown all over the world. Most plant historians believe the first wild apples originated in Southwest Asia, but no one can say for sure. What is certain is that those original, wild apples were nothing like the sweet, fleshy fruits we enjoy today. Instead, they were small, hard and consisted mostly of core and seeds.

Credit is generally given to the Romans for cultivating wild apples into the delicacies they became. Of course, there is no way to know that for sure, but with the science of DNA testing we do know more about the history of the fruit than ever before. Gene pools for 25 distinct species of apples have been isolated, and the lineage of several varieties is now being successfully traced.

Unlike so many other foods such as pumpkins, cocoa, and tomatoes, apples are not native the the Western Hemisphere. But, you already knew that because you learned all about Johnny Appleseed when you were a kid, right? Colonists did bring seeds with them when they settled the western side of the globe and apples were among the first seeds to be planted. John Chapman (aka Johnny Appleseed) did indeed travel around starting apple orchards from the east coast as far west as Ohio. Thanks, Johnny!

Today, in the US, there are apple orchards in every region, and probably in most towns. The major commercial producing states are Washington, New York and Michigan. Learning about the apples grown where you live is a rewarding and delicious experience, though, because the closer to you your apples are grown, the fresher they are when you eat them. Best yet is to plant a couple of apple trees and enjoy them straight off the tree.

However you plan to spend November, I hope you take some time to enjoy an apple, or 12, from your local orchard or your backyard. And, just in case you want to make a pie for Thanksgiving dinner, here’s my favorite recipe:

Canned Apple Pie Filling
Ingredients

  • 4 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch of ground cloves, ~ 1/8 teaspoon
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 10 cups water
  • 3-4 tablespoons lemon juice for the recipe, 4 tablespoons for the apple water
  • 6 pounds apples

Directions

  1. In a large pan, mix sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and cloves. Add salt and water and mix well. Bring to a boil and cook until thick and bubbly. Remove from heat and add lemon juice.
  2. Sterilize canning jars, lids and rings by boiling them in a large pot of water.
  3. Peel, core, and slice apples directly into water with added lemon juice to prevent browning. When all apples are ready drain the lemon water from the apples and pack the sliced apples into canning jars, leaving a 1/2 inch headspace.
  4. Fill jars with hot syrup, and gently remove air bubbles with a knife.
  5. Make sure the tops of your jars are clean (no syrup), put lids on, and process in a water bath canner for 20 minutes.
  6. One quart for one deep dish pie crust and bake at 400F for about 50 minutes
  7. Add 4 tablespoons of butter dollops on top of the filling and below the top crust for a richer flavored pie.

    Pie Filling will keep for at least one year. For us it it rarely lasts past the holidays. Everyone in our family has it on their 'Dear Santa, please bring me...' list.
 

November in the Garden
Practical & Pretty Gift Ideas:

Recycled Seeded Gift Wrap :
Friendship Balls: :
Bird Feeders :