Apples pairing guide: Celebrating Season’s bounty

The online Oxford dictionary defines apples as:

  • 1 the round fruit of a tree of the rose family, which typically has thin green or red skin and crisp flesh
  • used in names of unrelated fruits or other plant growths that resemble apples in some way, e.g. custard apple, oak apple
  • 2 (also apple tree)the tree bearing apples, with hard pale timber that is used in carpentry and to smoke foodGenus Malus, family Rosaceae: numerous hybrids and cultivars

Variation(s): Countless!…and each variety boasts it’s own unique taste, flavor, and texture. I highly recommend you try to taste and compare to appreciate the choices we are blessed with. I plan to.


Selecting apples

–      Purchase fresh apples from local grower or farm market.

–      Recognize the respective character of the apple you’re working with and work with it accordingly. For example, if you want a tart apple pie, you’ll need Granny Smith versus a Red Delicious. Another example is if you want the apple to hold its shape in baking, use Gala apples. Do your homework, buy and apply accordingly.

–      Taste and compare all sorts of varieties.

–      Choose apples that are firm. Avoid apples with discoloration or brown spots.

Storing apples

–      Best temperature is 35-40 degrees with relative humidity of 80-90%. Ok, so you don’t have to be so precise. Best stored in refrigerator or cool section in your basement.

–      Apples do absorb odors, so be mindful not to store them with onions, for example.

–      The length of storage really depends on the apple type. Most apples keep well for about a week.

Working with apples

–      Wash them well before use, particularly the commercial ones, to rid of any wax or other contaminants.

–      Do not use any bad or soft sections of apples.

–      If you’re slicing apples for pies, salads, stuffings, etc. toss them with some lemon juice to prevent them from browning.

Seasonality: Fall

Best Cooking Method(s): Bake, Caramelize, deep-fry, (as in beignets or fritters), grill, poach, raw, sauté, stew

Popular dishes: Great used for making beignets or dumplings, bread, butter, cakes, chutnies, cobblers, crostadas, crumbles, geleè, muffins, pancakes, Pies, sauce, streudels, stuffing, tarts, tossed in salads, turnovers, in stews, with cheese.…you get the idea.

Key nutritional attributes: Apples are a great source of fibre and vitamin C. After all, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Check it out this extensive nutritional calculator at SelfNutritionData.

Complementary Ingredient Guide:

(ingredients in bold text are most compatible)

Herb Garden & Spice Rack allspice, bay leaf, cardamom, chives, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin, curry, fennel, nutmeg, rosemary, sage, star anise, tarragon, thyme
Vegetable & Fruit Garden Vegetables: cabbage (red), celery, celery root, fennel, ginger,  onion

Fruit:apricots, blackberries, cherries, cranberries, dates, lemon,  orange, pear, plums/prunes, pomegranate, pumpkin, rhubarb, sweet potatoes, quince

Dairy Farm blue cheese, butter (unsalted), camembert, cheddar, crème fraiche, cream, custard, goat, Gruyère, sour cream, yogurt
Stocks & Consumes
Pasta & Legumes
Meat bacon, beef, pork, sausage, veal
Poultry & Game chicken, duck, goose
Fish & Shellfish
Liquors Armagnac, bourbon, brandy (esp. apple), Calvados, Cassia, cider, Cognac, Cointreau, Grand Mariner, Kirsch, Madeira, rum, sherry, vermouth, wine
Condiments & Miscellaneous almond, apple cider/juice, brown sugar, butterscotch, caramel, chestnuts, currents (black), custard, dates, hazelnuts, honey, horseradish, maple syrup, molasses, oatmeal/oats, peanuts/butter, pecans, pepper (black), pignoli/pine nuts,  pistachios, praline, raisins, sauerkraut, sugar, vanilla, vinegar, walnuts