Here in Germany, nothing says fall like apple picking. Tangy apples are the essence of autumn.
When thinking about this beautiful season, we decided to take a drive out to the Old Land (Altes Land), Germany’s largest continuous region of fruit orchards, south-west of Hamburg. And wow are we ever rolling in apples now! We went apple picking and brought home a whopping 25 kilograms! Picking apples goes so quickly. Amazingly fast. Overwhelmed with enthusiasm, we never imagined we would pick so many. Yes, an impossible amount to munch your way through, no matter how enthusiastic of an apple-lover/eater you may well be. And try sorting through the 6 varieties we managed to bring home. Hmmm. Yes, good luck with that. Okay, in the process we did discover about 2 kilograms worth that had ultra mini bites taken out of them. The youngest son of my favorite Schwabe, he took a bite our out a third of the apples he collected. “But you told me I should try them! …the first bite is the tastiest”. So there has been a lot of happily munching on apples this past week and a number tossed in salads.
As for the others…okay, I have a few ideas for them. Apple pie and apple tart for one. And surely, my favorite Schwabe’s mother will be thrilled when I ask her a few of her delicious traditional German apple recipes. Stay tuned.
So rocking out the frugal food scene at 1 euro per kilogram of apples, I’ll be paying tribute to these wonderful autumn days and tangy apples as I anticipate the delicious dishes I’d be making with my fresh-picked apples!
Apples ripen quickly at room temperature, but they’ll be fine for a day or two on the counter. Though, they will stay fresher when kept in the fridge, in the crisper to keep their moisture in. To extend the life of your apples, you can also keep them in a cool, dark, humid place (like a cellar or garage).
Apples emit a lot of ethylene gas as they ripen, so you can use them to speed up the ripening process of avocados and bananas by placing them on the counter in a paper bag together. In the same way, they will also shorten the shelf life of other vegetables if sharing the same space.
Apples are incredibly versatile and pair well with a number of other flavors—vanilla, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and clove. As well as, unlikely savory flavors such as rosemary, sage, and lemon. Not only are the great used in baking, but apple complements pork, squash, bitter greens, and a number of stronger, more pungent flavored cheese, such as blue cheese.
Nowadays most apple trees are grown on dwarf rootstock—this limits the height of the tree (for easier harvesting) and makes it possible for more trees to be planted on a smaller land area. So here’s a look at the varieties we picked:
After aging, the tartness mellows enough for it to be used as a fresh-eating apple. Boskop is quite “sharp”, which is high in acid compared to sugar, is commonly used as a dessert apple (it’s hailed the classic strudel apple) and has a higher vitamin C content than most apples.
– Harvested in end of September until early October.
– Available from end of September to February.
COX ORANGE PIPPIN
The benchmark for flavor in apples.
Unsurpassed for its richness and complexity, really intense, sweet sour, floral. Full of crunch, bite and juice, as good for cooking as they are eaten raw.
– Harvested in late September and lasting through October.
– Available from October to March.
One of the best Golden Delicious offspring. Crisp, juicy, sweet and tart in flavor.
A fragrant all-purpose apple that’s great for snacking, packing in lunch boxes or cooking with.
It makes an excellent applesauce or pie filling.
– Harvested in at the end of August.
– Available from end of August to end of February.
Holsteiner Cox is a domestic German apple. It is firm and juicy, with a slightly tart taste and strong aroma. It’s similar to Cox Orange, but the flesh is more coarse.
– Harvested in mid-September, the apple has good durability and can be stored until January.
Especially suitable for creating sauces. It’s ideal for pies or added to salads and excellent for fresh eating. Firm, juicy, fine textured, yellow-white flesh. Sweet slightly tart flavor.
– Harvested in mid-August.
– Available from mid-August to the middle of March.
A traditional apple that was cultivated by accident around 1910 in Denmark.
It is blander than a Cox apple and best eaten fresh. At best, quite rich, lightly aromatic flavor, soft juicy flesh.
– Harvested in mid to late September and can be stored until January.
So grab your spouse, kids or friends… and go pick apples!