ODE TO THE ORCHARD: Delicious Ontario Apples

Apples are so versatile! You can enjoy them as crunchy cruditées, or cover them in caramel, or lovingly load them into pies and other baked goods. Even if we don’t always eat them prepared in the healthiest fashion, they always taste so good. With the number of different varieties grown – and available – right here in southern Ontario, it’s easy to pick some up right from the orchard and bring them home to enjoy however you wish. In fact, going apple-picking makes for a picturesque and healthy outing the whole family can enjoy.

Finding Forbidden Fruit
Apples are indeed an ancient fruit.  They’ve been growing since prehistoric times and have been cultivated for more than 3,000 years.  The ancient Greeks, Etruscans, Romans and Egyptians were some of the early cultivators – likely knowing that an apple a day was good for something.
Did you know that during the California Gold Rush apples were a hot commodity? They sometimes fetched more than $100 a bushel because they were versatile, durable and easily dried and preserved.

Home Grown
Here in Ontario, we’re lucky to have close to 20 different homegrown varieties to choose from.  Apples are grown on nearly 16,000 acres of precious land in major apple producing areas ranging from the shores of Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, Lake Huron and Georgian Bay.  Our Great Lakes are prime growing areas because they help moderate the temperature, so it’s true that “Good Things Grow in Ontario”.  The top five types grown here are Empire, Gala, McIntosh, Northern Spy, and Red Delicious.

Don’t forget that, in addition to including them in apple strudel, apple muffins, or apple crisp, they are delicious in salads and sandwiches too (especially grilled cheese). Two classic desserts are homemade apple pie (sometimes accompanied by a slice of old cheddar cheese), and apple pudding – served with warm brown sugar sauce – definitely the easiest to make of the two, and equally as tasty.  This fall, a Sunday dinner complete with an apple-inspired finale is definitely in order.




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