How do you like ’em apples?

I apologize for not having written a post in ages! I have not forgotten about this blog – the past month, I’ve been running around like a crazy person, figuring out insurance (done, luckily), getting a permit (done!), networking (ongoing…) and continuing to look for a job. And before I realized, we are well into fall and I have not cooked enough with apples! Luckily I can still find high-quality apples in the local markets – I heard that enterprise, empire, cortland, Fuji and a bunch of other types of apples are harvested in the winter as well.

There really are few kinds of fruit as versatile as apples. Stuffed in grilled cheese, dipped in caramel, thrown in casseroles, they can bring a sense of warmth and sweetness to compliment almost any dish. And for those with a sweet tooth,  apples crisp, apple sauce, apple upside down cake, apple cider glazed doughnuts are just a few…Oh did I mention apple pies? A flaky, buttery pie with sweet and tart apple-y goodness oozing out of the shell…is as American as it gets (especially when baked by Mom).

 Is it fair to say that apples are the king of all fruit? Not only are they extremely affordable and have a taste that appeals to almost everyone, apples can be grown worldwide (although China produces more than 35% of the total). The apple tree was said to be the first tree to be cultivated, so it’s not surprising at all that the word “apple” has profoundly rooted in our language.

Now, count to 10 and think of as many phrases as you can with the word apple in it!

Here are a few examples, some more commonly used than others:

Apple of one’s eye – figuratively means something or someone dear and precious. Apparently, the saying dates back to the early Middle Ages, when apple of one’s eye literally meant “pupil” because people thought pupils were spherical and solid like apples. Since sight is our most important sense, the phrase quickly became a metaphor for something precious and cherished.

The Big Apple – a nickname for New York City. There are a bunch of theories out there, but this one seems the most believable to me: during the 1930s jazz era, musicians started referring to New York City as the “Big Apple,” as in”there are many apples on the tree, but only one Big Apple,” meaning New York City is THE place for the show biz.

Apple butter – according to The Eaten Word by Jay Jacob, “apple butter” is an old American slang for smooth talk. Other sources I found online say that the phrase is actually “poised apple butter” and “apple butter days” means “the good ole days,” where things were better and easier. Why apple butter though, as opposed to pumpkin butter or plum butter, I’m not sure.

Compare apples to oranges – an irrelevant comparison, a false analogy. It seems like in most European countries though, the idiom is “compare apples to pears.” Latin Americans, on the other hand, “compare potatoes to sweet potatoes.” To me, the last one is by far the most clever metaphor, since potatoes and sweet potatoes do look similar, but are from two completely different botanical families!

Apple pie order – another phrase I’ve never heard of! Supposedly it means tidy and well ordered. Some say it originated from the French phrase “nappes pliées,” which means “neatly-folded tablecloth.” There’s no concrete evidence to support this theory though.

Bad apple, rotten apple – a bad person. Or I guess you could say a bad egg?

Applesauce – apparently in the old days meant “nonsense,” “bullshit.” Well, that’s just plain wrong, because applesauce is delicious, especially when made fresh! Here’s how:

You’ll need:

  • 2 pounds of peeled, cored, and chopped apples (Use good cooking apples)
  • 2 strips of lemon peel (Use a potato peeler)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup of white sugar (you could also use honey or agave nectar)
  • 1/2 cup of water

1. Put everything (except for the honey, if you are using it) into a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat down to a simmer for 20 to 30 minutes.

2. Discard the lemon peels. Mash the mixture with a potato masher or blend it in a food processer for a smoother texture.

3. Stir in honey at the end. If you add the honey too early, it’ll turn the sauce into an ugly brown mess. (Trust me, it’s what I did…still tasted good though.)

P.s. To make other delicious apple treats, read this The Next Great Generation article. My fellow writers and I submitted some great recipes!

P.s 2 Stay tuned for a pumpkin post…

  1. Barb said:

    Fujis are my favorite! Our macaw likes them too…

    • Yue Huang said:

      Absolutely. They are so crisp and sweet!

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