The saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” comes from an old English adage, “To eat an apple before going to bed will make the doctor beg for his bread.”
Apples originally arrived to America from Eastern Europe and Southwestern Asia. In the 1800s an American named John Chapman, who later coined the nickname Johnny Appleseed, planted several apple seeds which led to the beginning of the permanent stay of apples throughout North America. Today, more than 2,500 varieties of apples are grown throughout the United States with Michigan leading the country for retail orchard fruit sales. Even better, Michigan is world famous for the quality and flavor of its apples.
It is because of their delicious flavor apples can be eaten with just about anything! We use apples in cooking and canning, not only for their flavor, but for their pectin – a natural thickening agent. Apples are used as desserts, in main dishes, alongside meats, in salads, and even on sandwiches. My son’s favorite, of course, is a Traditional Apple Pie which is synonymous with American culture.
I am proud to live in Michigan where we rank one of the highest in apple production. My home is literally surrounded by apple orchards making fall one of my favorite seasons. I also take pride knowing the Michigan apple industry is dominated by small family farmers operating their own orchards. Michigan consists of over 850 family-owned orchards with the majority of them being less than 200 acres. Even better, Michigan leads the nation in number of fruit stands and farm markets and is famous for the flavor of its “northern-grown” fruit.
FUN FACT: Did you know Michigan has over 9.2 million apple trees covering some 36,500 acres? Now that’s a lot of apples!
One of our favorite fall family traditions is taking the kids to Klackle Orchards in Greenville where we pick our own apples by hand, select our carving pumpkins for Halloween and enjoy freshly made cider and donuts. From these hand-picked fruits we enjoy creating fun new recipes to enjoy all winter long. Last fall, I had the most fun breaking the mold on traditional home canned apples. Using spices from other nations and incorporating delicious golden raisins, my Blonde Curry Apple Chutney was born. It is a fantastic blend of multiple cultures preserved in a mason jar!
This fall here in Michigan, be sure to enjoy the splendors of the season and support a local apple orchard by consuming these delicious fruits which have given us recognition on a global scale!
From the Garden to the Jar everyone~ The Canning Diva
For more information how to home can with The Canning Diva go to www.CanningDiva.com.
–Diane Devereaux, The Canning Diva