Apple Season: Growing, Baking, and Foretelling the Future

The apple is a weighty fruit – from the confusing origins of what could be called an apple (up until the 17th century, all fruit, excluding berries, but including nuts, were deemed “apples,”) to its role in the DOWNFALL of HUMANITY.  Thanks, tree of knowledge of good & evil. Did you know that a man’s “Adam’s apple” is thusly called from a story that the forbidden fruit lodged in his larynx?

And according to Irish folklore, if a woman peels an apple in one continuous ribbon and tosses it behind her shoulder, she will see the initials of her future husband in the shape of the rind. (It’s like the organic version of girls playing M.A.S.H.)

 As if determining a lifelong mate wasn’t enough pressure on the fruit, it’s assumed that Isaac Newton formed his theory of universal gravitation of the moon toward the Earth after observing an apple fall from a tree. So next time you’re out at an apple orchard, pay attention to passing brilliance.

The apple. It’s got a lot going on. I started thinking about it last week, on Halloween, remembering a childhood filled with fall fairs hosted at our church, the basement barely transformed by hanging orange and red paper leaves, kids taking off plastic masks to bob for shiny red apples in a galvanized tin tub. Based on photographic evidence of my disgusted look, I clearly found a communal pot of kid-spit unhygienic. (I’m still hunting for that old photo.) But when it comes to fall and apples, I most clearly remember my school field trips to a local orchard in Eugene, where we were allowed to climb the wooden ladders to choose our favorite right off the tree.

 It’s hard for me to say goodbye to October and embrace the shorter days of November.  But thankfully, apples are still in season, making an easier transition into darker evenings spent at home when they’re filled with the smells of baking apples, in crisps, in pies, in crumbles…  Better Homes & Gardens Magazine gives a basic tutorial on how to prep apples, and which ones are best to bake. Their recipes make my mouth water, especially baked apples with feta and thyme. What’s your favorite fall recipe for your apples?

And if you want to grow your own, so you can pick fruit straight from the tree, check out The Old Farmer’s Almanac, full of tips on soil conditions, where to plant, and what variety to buy for your region.  If you live in the chilly north or central parts of the States, you’ll want to plant in the spring, but if your weather is moist and warm, fall planting can work as well.

Tell us your apple stories and share recipes on Twitter @TheCityFarm & @RebeccaSnavely.

And ‘fess up. Who just peeled an apple and tossed it over her shoulder?

(Photo credit: Top: Northeast Flavor, Bottom: Jillie of All Trades)