Despite the drought and extreme temperatures of summer, mister gardener is enjoying a bumper crop of apples. According to the Virginia Department of Agriculture, the dry weather has slowed the growth of apples but the lack of moisture has caused the sugar content to be higher. In Virginia, apples are big business, especially in the Northern Shenandoah Valley and the Southwest and Central parts of the state. Virginia is the 6th largest apple producer in the country with 150 commercial growers statewide. Two thirds of the apples are processed but there is some mighty good eating if you like to pick your own. Check out some of the Virginia farms and orchards near your home if you’re in the mood to pick some tasty apples this fall.
Mister gardener’s small orchard of Red Delicious have ripened and been plucked from the trees numerous times. The apples have been added to recipes in the kitchen for applesauce, apples and sauerkraut, fried apples, paired with pork, as well as providing fresh snacks from the tree.
One of our favorite desserts is Nana’s Apple Crumb Pie, a hit any time of the year.
Nana’s Apple Crumb Pie
6 large apples, pared, cored and sliced. Mound apples in unbaked pie shell.
Sprinkle apples with the following sugar/cinnamon mix: ¼ cup brown sugar, ¼ cup white sugar, 1 tsp. cinnamon.
Mix together the following dry ingredients: ½ cup sugar,¾ cup flour.
Cut 1/2 cup butter (more or less) into sugar/flour until mixture resembles pea-sized crumbs.
Sprinkle crumble mixture over apples. Bake at 400 for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and bake for 40 minutes or until juicy and tender.
Ann Hohenberger, The Garden Club of Gloucester