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Apple Recipes: Sauce, Cider, Salad

VIDEO: How to Peel an Apple
VIDEO: Annie Cooks Apple Tarts

Apples big / Apples small / And guess what? / I like them all. I picked up that ditty as a wee girl in nursery school, but decades later I still crave the tart flavors and crisp snap when I bite into my favorite fall fruit. I prefer some varieties over others, but as the poem goes, “I like them all.”

From sweet to savory interpretations, few ingredients are as versatile as the apple.

Fewer still are as healthy–an excellent way to get a tasty wallop of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. And they’re important to dental health, too. As our mothers often told us, “Apples are nature’s toothbrush.”

Arriving at supermarkets and local farm stands as early as August from the hundreds of apple growers who help define our region, Ginger Golds are firm and juicy, getting sweeter a few days after picking. Empires have a distinctive snap. The McIntosh is the Miss Congeniality of apples–who doesn’t love a Mac? Cortlands stay fresh a long time and are the most versatile. Granny Smiths are a deliciously tart import that we’ve adopted as our own. Honeycrisps are my personal favorite for snacking; I prefer Libertys and Macouns for pies and sauce. And when it comes to hard cider, Kingston Blacks are what I look for.

This is the perfect time to pack some bread and cheese and head off on an apple-picking adventure. Kids go crazy when hoisted upon a grownup’s shoulder to grab the prize from a craggy bough. And then there’s the undeniable satisfaction of hiking through the orchard, hanging out in that special autumnal light.

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Updated Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

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