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Apple Orchards and Apple Cake

Visiting the Apple Orchard

Another favorite part of the Autumn Season for my family is anything that has to do with APPLES!  Yesterday, Tim and I took the kids to Mitchell’s Apple Orchard (a family owned orchard in our small town) and we picked our own apples. They gave each of the kids a small little apple bag so they could each fill their own. We trodded back down the lane to the fruit orchard, watching our three-year old’s glee at picking apples from the tree. Red delicious apples were falling all around us, literally. They were underfoot, falling down, and in the trees. With the suns rays shining down onto the apples though the leaves it was almost like we had stepped into a fairytale from a distant past time.  We also chose some granny smith, which are my son’s favorite (not sure if because of the taste or because he loves that color green).  We were the only ones in the orchard and we felt like we could skip around between the rows and discover all that nature provides. I loved seeing my children so excited over something so quaint as a fruit orchard. They also had to run over to the grape vines (mostly done for the season) and see if they could pick a grape. It was again like shopping at the “nature store” and all of it was provided to us for free from our glorious Earth! How can nature produce such colorful, bold, sweet candy? We had so much fun during this hour, discovering nature, loving the outdoors, taking photos, laughing. And we did it all for $6 (the price of the 1/2 bushel bag that we also filled to bring home). The kids started eating their apples as soon as we got home. I was pleasantly elated that they were excited to eat apples instead of asking for candy.  Life doesn’t get much better than making these kinds of memories. I am sure we will go back at least one more time soon.  For now, I’ve got lots of apples to bake with. Tonight I made an apple cake that we will eat after dinner with vanilla ice cream.

About Apples

Besides being lovely to photograph due to their vibrant colors, apples are also a great snack. They are full of pectin and provide dietary fiber, potassium, beta-carotene and Vitamin C! 

Apple Recipes

Apples  are great raw and cut-up with peanut butter. They can always be used in fruit salad. And there are a million baking recipes where sweet apples become soft cinnamon flavored delights.  Try the link below for many apple recipes and start baking!

http://www.joyofbaking.com/AppleRecipes.html

Apple Cake:

3/4 cup (75 grams) chopped walnuts or pecans

1 pound (454 grams) apples

1-2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 1/2 cup (195 grams) all purpose flour

3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated white sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter, melted

2 large eggs

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons milk

1/3 cup (50 grams) raisins

Glaze: (optional)

1/3 cup (85 grams) apricot preserves or jam

Apple Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place rack in the center of the oven. Butter or spray with a non stick cooking spray, an 8 inch (20 cm) square baking pan and then line with parchment paper or wax paper.Place the nuts on a baking sheet and bake for about 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly brown and fragrant. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack and then coarsely chop.Peel, core, and coarsely chop the apples. Toss with 1 – 2 tablespoons of lemon juice.In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, ground cinnamon, and salt. Add the melted butter, eggs, and vanilla extract and beat until fully incorporated. Fold in the chopped nuts, raisins, and chopped apples. If the batter is thick, stir in the milk.Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake in preheated oven for about 35 – 45 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.While the cake is still warm, prepare the glaze. Place the apricot jam or preserves in a small saucepan and warm over medium heat until liquid. Remove from heat and strain the jam through a fine strainer to remove any fruit lumps. Alternatively, place the apricot jam or preserves in a small bowl and heat in the microwave. Using a pastry brush, spread the warmed preserves over the apple cake.Serve with softly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Cover and refrigerate leftovers. Reheat before serving.Makes 6-8 servings.Sources:Alford, Jeffrey & Duguid, Naomi. Home Baking. Artisan. New York: 2003.Rosen, Michael J. Baking from the Heart. Broadway Books. New York: 2004.Slater, Nigel. The Kitchen Diaries. Fourth Estate. London: 2005.
 
Apples and Children

Apples orchards are a great family fun activity and superb for catching family photos for autumn.  There are many other things after the orchard that you can teach your family. Apples were first brought to the New World by the pilgrims. Tell them the story of Johnny Appleseed and how he went from state to state and planted the apple trees. Where I live in Ohio, we love to talk about this because he actually came through our area planting seedlings.  The Johnny Appleseed Heritage Center is located in Mifflin area, Ohio and information can be provided at http://www.jahci.org . Children love apples and they often are used to represent learning. Did you give your teacher an apple?  Try this link for apple coloring pages for your children.

Go to page:http://www.leehansen.com/coloring/Seasons/pages/apples.htm

Apple Photos

My favorite colors are red, yellow and orange and so I love to photography the natural beauty of red and yellow apples while they are still on the tree, in a child’s hand, or in disarray on the ground. My apple photos, which will be up soon in my online store, are available in any size, on canvas, on gallery canvas, framed, on matboard, and in assorted note card packages of 10! Lovely for autumn decorating and for writing those thank you or thinking of you notes. Watch for them at my artfire store: http://breathebeautyartandphotographybyerin.artfire.com

Happy Apple Hunting!!

  

 

 

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