All About Apples

    Apples enrich the kitchen all year round. We’re showing the whole culinary spectrum of the apple from sweet to savory and reveal which healthy secrets are hidden under the skin. We’re also sharing our sweet and savory recipe for Apple Tarte with Lavender.

    Vitamins, fiber and positive side effects

    Americans consume about 18 pounds of fresh apples per capita each year. And rightly so! There are so many tasty apple varieties, with so many valuable nutrients. Although an apple is 85 percent water, it contains over 30 different vitamins including A, B, C, E and K, plus potassium, magnesium and folic acid. Plus, pectin — a beneficial fiber that helps to stabilize blood sugar, bind toxins such as cholesterol, and ensure a healthy, active intestinal flora. Pectin is also used as a vegetable gelling and binding agent.

    Varieties, characteristics and use

    Around 7,500 apple varieties are grown throughout the world, and more than 2,500 are grown in the United States.

    The Red Delicious is the most widely grown in the United States; but, Americans enjoy many more such as Gala, Jonagold, and Braeburn, to name a few. Thanks to the growth of the Slow Food movement, old varieties of apples have increasingly been cultivated in recent years. Regardless of the variety, apples should be kept in a cool, dark place, separate from other fruit as the naturally-released ripening gas Etyhlen can accelerate their spoilage.

    Depending on the variety, apples are ideal for multiple cooking applications. For example, the Braeburn is perfect for homemade applesauce; the Gala for cider; the tart Granny Smith works best for baking pies, and the Cortland is great for a fruit salad. 

    Apple tarte with lavender

    Serves 4

    Ingredients

    Dough:

    2 cups wheat flour 
    1 pinch salt
    1/2 cup water
    2 tablespoons olive oil

    Topping:

    4 large apples
    4 red onions
    4 thyme stems 
    1¼ cup sour cream
    4 tbsp acacia honey
    fleur de sel
    ½ oz lavender flowers, dried
    Pink peppercorns

    Preparation:

    Dough:

    1. Mix flour and salt.

    2. Knead with water and olive oil to a smooth dough with fast, vigorous movements.

    3. Form into a ball, divide into 4 equal size balls, and roll flat

    Topping:

    1. Cut apples and onions into approximately equal slices or rings

    2. Wash thyme, dry and remove leaves

    3. Spread mixture on the dough, alternating layers of apples and onions

    4. Drizzle honey over the top

    5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, then bake for about 25 minutes until onions are slightly brown and apples soft.

    6. After baking, sprinkle with fleur de sel, lavender and peppercorns. Serve warm.

     

    Picture 1: © foodinaire / adobestock