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Apples have always been my favorite fruit. I don’t know what I like the most: picking them, eating them or cooking with them. Apples are so versatile.

I always get a bunch of apples and put them away until the frost comes. Then I take them so that they do not freeze.

When all the grandchildren were there, I went to the orchard and came back with bushels of apples. Then I distributed them among the families. Sometimes I would leave my apples in a cold room and pick them up when I was ready for them.

I remember a year when I was at Wegmans to buy bags of apples. A man volunteered to help me put my apple bags in my car. He commented on how much I bought. I told him some of them would go to my son’s house as part of his birthday present. Years ago I started making grocery bags for children and grandchildren as part of their birthday gifts. I chose things that I knew they particularly liked. It was such a success that I continued to do it.

When I was growing up, we always went to the orchard to pick apples. Grandma and Grandpa had a nice basement to store apples. Grandpa and I often shared an apple in the evening when we were watching TV. Grandpa would sit in his big oak rocker and cut the apple with a paring knife and we each ate it. Today I have this rocker and I cherish the memories. Every time I look at her I think of Grandpa.

Later we went to another orchard and bought some apples.

On the farm we had our own apples. We had many varieties. Some of my favorites were the Northern Spy apples. Not only did they taste great, they kept well, so we had fresh apples for a long time.

Now I buy all of my apples. I always eat Cortland apples. They are white in the middle and very juicy. They are also crispy.

When I use apples for cooking, I like to use a variety of kinds to get the best flavor. There is nothing quite like homemade applesauce. Usually I just cook a batch when we’re ready to eat it. I also like French fries. To prepare them, just put a little butter in a saucepan, cut the apples into slices and cook them until tender. Then I add a little sugar and cinnamon depending on the sweetness of the apples. It was Aunt Edna who taught me how to fry apples. Once when Grandma was sick and she and I were cooking together, she said we were going to make French fries. It was new to me, but they were so good.

My favorite apple recipe is Apple Crisp. The recipe I make the most was my grandmother’s. I love the crust this one makes. When asked to submit a favorite recipe, I often submit that one.

Apple chips

6 apples, cut into small pieces

vs. salt

1 C. flour

1 egg

1 meager tsp. sugar

cinnamon

1 teaspoon yeast

vs. melted butter

I use a 10 × 10 baking dish. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and egg. Spread over the apples. Pour the melted butter over the filling. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 min. I serve it lukewarm first, then at room temperature later. I usually serve it with ice.

Another great recipe is apple bread. I found this recipe in one of the personalized church cookbooks often sold by groups. It’s called AZ Bread. As long as you have two cups of fruit / veg, it works. Once I find this recipe, I use it all the time. He makes two loaves of sweet bread. I tried it with zucchini, pineapple, bananas, grated apples, as well as applesauce. I also used grated carrots so it’s versatile. We love raisins, so I add them to most breads. It has become my new favorite sweet bread recipe. According to my model, I made it once following the recipe, then I adjusted it to my liking. So you get my own version.

AZ Bread

3c. flour

1 C. oil

1 teaspoon salt

1 C. sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 tbsp. Ingredient AZ

vs. yeast

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 teaspoons cinnamon (optional)

3 eggs

Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon. Put aside. In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Add oil and sugar. Cream well. (I do this by hand.) Add your ingredient AZ.

Here I often use two different ingredients as long as I have two cups when I’m done. Add vanilla. Stir in the dry ingredients. If you like nuts, you can add some at this point. Pour into two well greased loaf tins. Bake at 325 degrees for about an hour. I usually end up cooking it for about 10 minutes. more. Test it with a cake tester. The tester should come out clean. Let sit for ten minutes. then throw it out of the pan.

If you have overripe bananas, mash them and put them in a plastic bag and keep them in the freezer. Thaw to use. About four bananas are needed for this recipe.

Have fun with this recipe. You can use all kinds of leftovers and it will be fine.

Ann Swanson writes from her home in Russell. Contact at [email protected]

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