Saturday, August 29, 2009

Apple Season

Fall has come to Ladybug Farm. Yes, I know the calendar reads AUGUST but here in the mountains the signs are unmistakable. Overnight we've gone from shorts and tank tops to jeans and socks, the morning fogs lie low in the valleys and shroud the mountaintops like tattered blankets, the dogwoods and the sassafras are turning red and my deck is covered with hickory nuts. The black walnut trees are dropping yellow leaves, the tomato vines are shriveled and brown. And the apples are coming in.

In my yard there is a 100 year old native apple tree that produces a small, speckled, tart fruit so completely unlike the ones pictured here as to be almost unrecognizable. Picked straight from the tree they are, well, fairly inedible (although my Golden Retriever loves them!). However, generations of mountain folks have dried these apples, pickled them, baked them, canned them, made them into jellies, compotes and pies that lasted throughout the winter. These apples were meant to be cooked, and since my tree is now bent to the ground with an abundance of fruit, I've been searching for new recipes. Here's a great one from Jennifer for Sour Cream Apple Cardamom Quick Bread.

And here's variation I came up with that's almost as good:

Apple Cheddar Bread

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup chopped walnuts
2 cups grated apples

1 to 1 1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

Cream butter, oil and sugars. Add vanilla, eggs, sour cream. Sift together dry ingreients and add gradually. Stir in apples, walnuts, and cheddar. Pour into 2 standard buttered and floured loaf pans or 4 small ones. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes to 1 hours, or until wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.

And if you have any apple recipes out there, send them on!


RenĂ© August 29, 2009 at 9:32 PM  

Sounds delicious! Apple and cheddar make a good pairing so it's a great idea to include them together in a bread.

Jennifer Jackson August 31, 2009 at 5:38 PM  

I am really looking forward to baking season!

Pat in east TN October 5, 2009 at 4:20 PM  

We just celebrated our annual Apple Festival in my little town here in east TN, and your recipe sounds delicious and I'm going to give it a try. Thanks for sharing ....

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