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What's in Season? Apples!

09/30/2014 11:15AM ● Published by Style

When it comes to fruit, none has quite the colorful history as that of a juicy apple.

Some believe it was an apple that tempted Adam in the Garden of Eden; others are more familiar with the fable of Johnny Appleseed walking across the U.S. for thousands of miles, barefoot, planting apple trees. Whether you believe these stories or not, you might want to pay attention to the adage, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” as recent research about the nutritional benefits of this famed fruit prove the common expression may just be true.

SELECTION AND STORAGE

Whether you prefer biting into the Granny Smith, Empire, Arkansas Black, Gala, Gravenstein, Winesap or Golden Delicious varieties, all apples can be stored longer than most fruits, sometimes up to several months. To help keep their nutrients at optimal levels, it’s best to store them at low refrigerator temperatures in the fruit drawer (with a damp cheesecloth). While in the refrigerator, make certain to remove apples that are brown or damaged, as they can release high amounts of ethylene gas and cause harm to surrounding apples.

DID YOU KNOW?

Apples not only help regulate blood sugar, but they also lower blood fat and significantly alter the bacteria in our digestive tracts. Eating an apple in its solid, natural form, as opposed to consuming applesauce or apple juice, delivers the most health benefits. Preliminary research shows apples may have the ability to reduce the risk of lung cancer and asthma, due to their strong antioxidants and anti-inflammatory benefits. Whether tart and crunchy or sweet and soft, there are many ways to enjoy the fruit’s fresh flavors—from fruit and green salads to pairing it with cheeses or pork.

Susan Belknap

For details on where to buy Placer County farm-fresh produce, wine, meat and local products, visit placergrown.org.

HOW TO PAIR WITH WINE

Nothing says autumn like apple season—when paired with pork, it’s the quintessential fall meal. A fruity and chilled Viognier with hints of green apple, peach and vanilla enhance the wine's crispness, while the acidity pairs well with this month’s roasted pork dish, and the lingering spicy finish adds elegance. Try a Viognier from Le Casque Wines, Lone Buffalo Vineyards or Fawnridge Winery.


PAN-ROASTED PORK WITH APPLES AND THYME

Recipe by PlacerGROWN Chef Courtney McDonald

Ingredients:
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 6 pork loin chops
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 8 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 3 tart green apples, peeled, cored and sliced ¼ inch thick
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat a large cast-iron pan over medium-high heat. Add olive oil. Season pork chops with salt and pepper to taste, and add to the pan (in batches is fine if they won’t all fit together). Avoid crowding the pan or pork chops will steam. Cook chops until well caramelized on both sides and cooked just under your liking. Remove chops from the pan and set aside to rest. 
Wipe excess oil from pan and add butter, thyme, apples and honey. The apples will start to release moisture and absorb any browned bits left from the pork chops. Cook this mixture, stirring occasionally, until apples begin to soften—about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Once apples are soft, place cooked chops back into the pan, on top of the apple mixture. Put the whole pan in the oven to evenly distribute heat—about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, and serve immediately. Serves 6.

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