Your Apple A Day!
By Nancy Finch, Food Columnist
A sad sight in our local newspaper was the picture of
an apple tree being uprooted in the orchard of Virginiaís famed Byrd
family ó apple growers since 1906.
Harry F. Byrd III of Berryville explained that the
apple business in Virginia is in trouble. Byrd cited foreign competition
from China as a major cause. When I bought apples for this story, the Romes
were from Michigan while the Galas (I had never heard of them) were from
Another grower said people are not cooking with apples
as they once were. They donít have time, she said.
I was saddened to see the uprooted tree because, like
many Virginians, I suspect, I grew up with a bushel of apples on our back
porch. My mother baked, fried, stewed, apple sauced, apple buttered, apple
pied, apple caked and probably more. Cooked apples were a regular on our
table and are still my preference as opposed to eating fresh apples.
When in apple country, I have often bought a bushel of
apples to follow the family custom. But, I have to admit, Iím not cooking
with apples as much as I once did.
My favorite cooking apple for fried apples is hard to
find. Those early June Transparency apples make the best fried apples of
any. They cook up to an apple sauce consistency. No other apples that I know
of cook up like that with skins so tender you donít need to peel. I used
to make trips to our downtown farmersí market hoping to find them and
occasionally I would ó but no longer, our marketís direction has changed
to herbs and goat cheese type products.
So, this monthís column is for all of us who arenít
cooking with apples as much as we used to, if at all. Letís help Mr. Byrd
and others stop plowing up their apple trees by eating and cooking more
Fried apples, grits, country ham and biscuits! What
could be better? You have to break some rules here. Bacon fat is delicious
to fry apples in, but oil can also be used. Any kind of apple can be fried,
but some are definitely better than others. Apples may be fried with or
Fried, baked or stewed apples are especially good with
pork or ham. And, then, of course, there is apple pie. Weíve tried a new
version that is very good.