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View from Hickory Heights

An apple a day

Apples have always been my favorite fruit. I do not know what I like best — picking them, eating them, or cooking with them. Apples are just so versatile.

I always get a bunch of apples and store them out back until the frost comes. Then, I take them in so they do not freeze.

Back in the day when all of the grandchildren were around, I went to the orchard and came back with bushels of apples. Then, I divided them between the families. Sometimes I left my apples in cold storage and picked them up when I was ready for them.

I recall one year I was at Wegmans getting bags of apples. A man volunteered to help me put my bags of apples into my car. He commented about how many I was purchasing. I told him some of them would go to my son as part of his birthday present. Years ago, I began making bags of groceries for the children and grandchildren as part of their birthday gifts. I picked things I knew that they especially liked. It was such a hit that I have kept doing it.

When I was growing up, we always went to the orchard to pick apples. Grandma and grandpa had a nice basement to store the apples. Grandpa and I frequently shared an apple in the evening when we were watching television. Grandpa would sit in his big oak rocker and cut up the apple with a paring knife and we each ate some. Today I have that rocker and I cherish the memories. Every time I look at it, I think of Grandpa.

In later years we went to another orchard and bought apples.

On the farm we had our own apples. We had many varieties. Some of my favorites were the Northern Spy apples. They not only tasted good, they kept well so we had fresh apples for a long time.

Now, I buy all of my apples. I always get some Cortland apples to eat. They are white in the middle and very juicy. They are crispy as well.

When I am using the apples to bake with, I like to use a variety of kinds to get the best flavor. There is nothing like homemade applesauce. I usually just make up a batch when we are ready to eat it. I also like fried apples. To make those you just put a little butter in a pan, slice up the apples, and cook them until they are tender. Then I add a little sugar and cinnamon depending on the sweetness of the apples. It was aunt Edna who taught me how to fry apples. Once when grandma was sick and she and I were cooking together, she said we were going to make fried apples. That was new to me, but they were oh so good.

My favorite recipe using apples is Apple Crisp. The recipe I make the most used to be my grandmother’s. I like the crust this one makes. When asked to submit a favorite recipe I often submit this one.

Apple Crisp

6 apples cut into small pieces

§ tsp. salt

1c. flour

1 egg

1 scant c. sugar

cinnamon

1 tsp. baking powder

¢ c. butter melted

I use a 10×10 baking dish. Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and egg. Spread over the apples. Pour the melted butter over the topping. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 min. I serve it warm first, then, room temperature later. I usually serve it with ice cream.

Another nice recipe is Apple Bread. I found this recipe in one of the personalized church cookbooks often sold by groups. It is called A-Z Bread. As long as you have two cups of fruit/vegetables it works. Once I found this recipe, I use it all the time. It makes two loaves of sweet bread. I have tried it using zucchini, pineapple, banana, apples grated, as well as applesauce. I have also used grated carrots so it is versatile. We like raisins so I add those to most of the breads. It has become my new favorite sweet bread recipe. As per my pattern I made it once following the recipe, then tweaked it to suit my taste. So, you are getting my own version.

A-Z Bread

3c. flour

1 c. oil

1 tsp. salt

1 ¢ c. sugar

1 tsp. baking soda

2 c. A-Z ingredient

¢ tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. vanilla

3 tsp. cinnamon(optional)

3 eggs

Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon together. Set aside. In a large bowl beat the eggs. Add oil and sugar. Cream well. (I do this by hand.) Add you’re A-Z ingredient.

Here I often use two different ingredients as long as I have two cups when I am done. Add vanilla. Blend in the dry ingredients. If you like nuts you may add some at this point. Spoon into two well-greased loaf pans. Bake at 325 degrees for about an hour. I usually end up baking it about 10 min. more. Test it with a cake tester. The tester should come out clean. Let it set for ten min. then dump it out of the pan.

If you have bananas get over ripe, squash them and put them into a plastic bag and store in the freezer. Thaw to use. It takes about four bananas for this recipe.

Have fun with this recipe. You can use all kinds of leftovers and it will turn out fine.

Ann Swanson writes from her home in Russell. Contact at hickoryheights1@verizon.net.

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