Apples, a food available all year round, is especially plentiful now in Northeast Pennsylvania. Knowing the different and new varieties of apples is fun. Have a family taste testing. Slice a variety of apples into wedges. Ask them to close their eyes and taste them. Then ask them to guess the variety name of the apple.
Apples are great when we first get them. Sometimes, however, they turn mealy and soft after a few weeks. Here are some tips to keep your apples crisp and flavorful. First, select firm apples free from bruises. Then, to keep apples crisp, keep them cold. Apples ripen eight to 10 times faster at room temperature.
Store apples in a separate sealed bags hydrator drawer. Here is why. Apples give off a naturally occurring hormone called ethylene gas. It is odorless, colorless and made by fruits and vegetable as they ripen. Ethylene gas is not harmful to humans. Most tree fruit like apples and pears produce large amounts of ethylene gas. The more given off, the quicker it bruises.
Store vegetables in a separate place from fruits in the refrigerator, such as a separate crisper drawer. Store apples away from lettuce, carrots, cabbage, cucumbers and broccoli.
What are some unusual ways to use apples? Add chopped apples to your favorite coleslaw or salad. Add apples and sliced cabbage to sauerkraut when heating (takes the bite away). Layer sliced apples onto top of pork chops when baking. Add sliced apples to your favorite chicken stir-fry recipe.
Remember, always wash apples in plain water before eating.
This easy recipe does not require a mixer. Moreover, it has beans as an ingredient. Beans boost the protein and fiber in the cake yet you hardly notice them. Enjoy!
Apple Spice Cake
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup canola oil
1 egg, beaten
1 (15 oz.) can pinto beans, drained and mashed
1 cup white whole wheat flour or half whole wheat and half white flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon cloves
2 cups raw apples, unpeeled and diced
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
Mix together sugar, vanilla and oil in a large mixing bowl.
Add egg and beans to the mixture. Add flour and seasonings to the bowl. Mix well.
Add apple, raisins and nuts. Mix. Pour mixture into a lightly nonfat sprayed 9”x13” pan. Bake at 375ºF for 45 minutes.
Makes 15 servings. Each serving is 170 calories, 3.5 g fat, 15 mg cholesterol, 240 mg sodium, 33 gram carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber.