Apple Season = Happy Snacking
I love apple season. Growing up in New England meant enjoying an apple abundance each fall, with apple-picking ranking high on my list of favorite fall activities (along with pumpkin carving… hooray for Halloween’s approach!) Here in Iowa, the varieties are different than what I was used to in the Northeast, but local apples are still plentiful. On Saturday, the Mischievous Gentleman surprised me with an outing to Center Grove Orchard in Cambridge, IA. First, we enjoyed a hayride through the pumpkin patch and around the orchard. Then, we got down to business apple-picking.
We’d been warned that most of the low-hanging fruit had been picked already, so we set off on foot into the orchard armed with a “picker” (a clawed, metal basket on a pole) for reaching higher-up, ripe apples to fill our half-peck sack. I was convinced the outing would end with me getting bonked on the head by a falling apple, but happily, I managed to wield the picker with unusual grace. The Mischievous Gentleman handled the picking like a pro, and seemed to have an uncanny knack for identifying which apples were worm-free even from so far away.
Two varieties of apple were in season at Center Grove Orchard: Golden Delicious, so sweet for eating; and Jonathans, with their tangy red skins and crisp white flesh. Mmm.
My mom often fixed “apple toast” for me and my sister when we were growing up. This cozy, healthful snack is so simple to prepare it hardly warrants a recipe, but it does lend itself well to variations.
Mom’s Apple Toast
2 slices wholegrain bread
2 Tbsp peanut butter or Sunbutter
1 ripe apple, any variety
1 Tbsp brown sugar
Optional: sesame seeds, flax seeds, cinnamon, or other crunchy bits or spices
Lightly toast the bread. Spread 1 Tbsp of peanut butter or Sunbutter on each slice. Thinly slice the apple, and lay the slices over the bread in overlapping layers.
Sprinkle 1/2 Tbsp of brown sugar evenly over the apples topping each slice of bread. (Mix the sugar with cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, or other spices if you like. I think the plain brown sugar tastes great, too.)
Place the apple toasts in a toaster oven and broil for a few minutes, watching carefully, until the brown sugar melts and starts to bubble briskly. If desired, sprinkle on a crunchy topping like sesame seeds, flax seeds, or nuts. Let cool for a few minutes before eating — the sugar will be very hot!