Michigan Apple Harvest: Healthy Goodness

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Michigan’s apples are some of the best in the world. Loaded with vitamins, great in many recipes, delicious and versatile, it’s no wonder that the apple was the serpent’s weapon of choice for Adam and Eve. My native state of Michigan is home to hundreds of apple orchards, cider mills, food mills,  and farm markets. In September and October road side stand, farm markets, produce stands and grocery stores are lined with baskets of sweet, spicy, tangy red-cheeked apples.

Recommended reading: Best Apple Peelers

There are over thirty kinds of apples grown in Michigan alone. Some apples, like the sweet crisp Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Winesap and Gala are ‘eating apples’. They are best served fresh and eaten raw. Other apples, tart and tangy, like the Macintosh, Jonathon, Granny Smith, Ida Red and the hybrid Jonamac are cooking apples. They can easily be eaten fresh, but are the best choice for baked and stewed apple recipes. We Dutch are especially adept at creating apple delicacies. Here are some apple recipes passed down to me from generations of my Michigan Dutch ancestors.

Waldorf Salad:

This recipe comes from the famous Waldorf-Astoria restaurant and was a house special in the 1920s.

  1. Peel (if desired), core and chop four medium Macintosh apples or other cooking apples.
  2. Shred a small head of iceberg lettuce.
  3. Add one cup dark raisins and one cup coarsely chopped walnuts (I always use Diamond brand Shelled Walnuts and chop with the best food chopper) and one cup of sliced celery.
  4. Blend ingredients with Miracle Whip or mayonnaise.
  5. Serve immediately on a large lettuce leaf.

Apple-Sausage Stuffed Squash:

  1. Halve, seed and clean two sweet dumpling or acorn winter squashes. You can use butternut squash which is the richest and sweetest of the winter squashes, but you will have to choose a short, squat squash.
  2. Peel, core and dice four apples.
  3. With your hands, mix one pound of fresh pork sausage, 1/4 teaspoon each ground ginger and ground cloves with diced apples. Add half cup of raisins if desired.
  4. Place a scoop of sausage into the center of each squash half. Gently press but don’t pack too hard.
  5. Place squash in a cake pan with one inch of water in the bottom to steam the squash. Cover loosely with tin foil. Bake at 425 degrees until squash is tender and sausage is done.
  6. Serve with maple syrup.

Diva Mama’s Apple Dumplings:

My children often request these apple dumplings in place of cake for their birthday celebration.

  1. Two cups of baking mix (Jiffy or Bisquick) and one cup of milk. Blend and roll out to one quarter inch thick. Cut into six equal square portions.
  2. In a saucepan, bring to boil two cups of water, 1 cup of sugar, one teaspoon of cinnamon and one half teaspoon of nutmeg.
  3. Peel, core and slice six small apples.
  4. On each square, place one apple’s worth of apple slices, two pats of butter or margarine and sprinkle with cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar.
  5. Loosely fold the four corners of each dumpling into the center and pinch closed. Dumpling will not seal completely.
  6. Place dumplings in greased glass baking pan. Pour cinnamon and sugar sauce over dumplings.
  7. Cover loosely with foil.
  8. Bake at 400 degrees for about 30-40 minutes until apples are tender.
  9. Serve with Hudsonville vanilla ice cream (another fine Michigan product).

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