Source: Nova Scotia Kitchens
This month’s episode is supported by SweeTango apples! Primarily grown right here in beautiful Nova Scotia, these apples are a lovely red, medium-sized apple that is incredibly crisp and crunchy, juicy, and has a very pleasant sweet and tangy flavour. They’re perfect for packing in lunches – I took one to work with me every day this week, and there has been much noisy crunching in our house. I’m not exaggerating – it holds the Guinness World Record for “Loudest Crunch of an Apple”! They’re available right now and have a short, sweet season – they really are delicious, and can be found locally at Sobeys, Superstore, WalMart, and Costco. For more information and recipes, visit SweeTango.com!
October is such a month of bounty in this province, and apples are emphatically in season right now. There’s an apple for every preference – sweet, tart, mild, crunchy – and for every purpose, too – eating out of hand, cooking into sauce, pies, dehydrating, or canning. I love apples. You can use them in sweet dishes, of course, or savoury ones like apple soups, or braised apples with cabbage, one of my favourites. You can find them right now at farmer’s markets, roadside stands, u-picks, and even free for the picking from wild trees and abandoned orchards (of course, check with the owner if they’re not on your property!)
There is a series of Nova Scotian cookbooks I’ve mentioned often here before – the “Connection” series by Beatrice Ross Buszek. Published in the 70’s and 80’s, they are GEMS – filled with weird and wonderful recipes of every kind imaginable, along with interesting information, poems, and folklore. Naturally I gravitated toward The Apple Connection for this episode, and used a blend of apples to make the Annapolis Valley Pudding recipe. The Annapolis Valley is where most of the apples in the province are grown, and it is a lush, beautiful part of the province that I love to visit. I modified the recipe slightly to make it less sweet – it was way to sweet as written, and I reduced the amount of nutmeg so it isn’t overpowering. I love a deep dive, and had the best time perusing the book and imagining making every single recipe. There are several flags marking recipes I plan to make this season.
I’ve picked up most of my Connection books at Value Village in Halifax, and one was sent to me by a kind soul. Keep your eyes peeled at local thrift shops here, and you might be lucky, too. The Annapolis Valley Pudding recipe suggests serving with lemon sauce, and I knew just where to look to find the perfect lemon sauce recipe – the Dutch Oven cookbook (which I also found at Value Village) – what a giant gem of a book! Enjoy!
Some other ways to use apples:
The blue cheese, fennel and apple pork tenderloin recipe that I mentioned. I can’t even describe how good this is! I never have apple brandy on hand, so I just omit that, and it’s sooooo good!
Applesauce, cooked in the slow cooker, stovetop, or Instant Pot on slow cooker setting – just slice as many apples as you want, add a bit of water and a pinch of cinnamon, and cook for awhile until you can mash it into sauce, checking every now and then to make sure it has enough moisture. If you forget about it and it cooks waaaay down, it’s apple butter! It freezes really well.
I sometimes use the peels and cores to make apple cider vinegar, which I did this time around. You can find instructions here.