Tag Archives: apples

Apple Cranberry Martini

So the calendar says it’s Fall. I have to say it has been cooler than normal here in south Florida. Remember, it’s cool for us. In the mid 70s! The weather people say it’s cooler than normal for this time of year. I think they’re right. I’ve gotten used the Fall weather arriving in time for Thanksgiving! Halloween is usually pretty warm here. But either way, it’s Fall. I remember years and years ago when my family would go up to Maine for a long weekend. We have a house in Naples, Maine. A summer “camp” as they call it. No heat. No insulation. Indoor plumbing! But you don’t go up there in the winter or after the lake freezes. Yes, the house is on a lake as well. So Columbus Day weekend was usually the last time we went up. One of the traditions we had, for a few years anyway, was to go apple picking. No matter how sullen or grumpy some of were we always had fun. We ate more apples than we picked sometimes! The weather was always beautiful. Cool but not cold, sunny and clear.

 

October 1976: Me (red jacket upper left), Dad, Billy, Warren, Michele & Mom

 

I do miss that part of being up north this time of year. We have pumpkin ‘fields’ here. They are usually on a corner lot on the road or church yard. Places where in another month or so we’ll see Christmas trees. It’s just not the same to go pumpkin picking here! So all this talk of  “Fall” weather had me thinking of a seasonal martini. Did the pumpkin one already. And since I associate apple picking with the Fall this martini sounded perfect. Sort of like an apple cosmo! Anyway, give it a try and enjoy the Fall weather however you can!

 

 

 


INGREDIENTS:

2 ounces cranberry vodka

1 ounce green apple vodka

1 ounce cranberry juice

apple slices (red or green) for garnish

fresh cranberries for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

Add ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well and pour into chilled martini glasses. Garnish with an apple slice or cranberries on a toothpick.

Makes 2 drinks

Buying Fresh Fruits & Vegetables at Their Peak (Part 1)

Like most of our local supermarkets we can usually get any kind of fruit or vegetable year round. Transportation improvements and storage facilities have aided in this. But if you want to get the most nutritional value and flavor from a fruit or vegetable it’s best to choose at the peak of their freshness. But what is fresh at what time of the year? I know when I lived in New York strawberry season was usually at its peak in June. But here in Florida it’s March and April. Different regions of the country have different growing seasons therefore some peaks of freshness may vary. I have put together a list of fruits and vegetables and when the best time is to enjoy them at their best! It’s a big list so I am going to break the list down to two posts. I hope this information helps out when you’re shopping. Another thing when you are buying items at their peak they are usually the best price as well. So keep that in mind as well! This list will tell you which months are best for the freshest products and also what to look for when choosing your produce.

  • Apples:  September-May: Look for good color; firm to touch. Avoid those that are soft & mealy.
  • Apricots: June-July: Should be golden-yellow; plump; firm. Avoid pale yellow or green, very hard or soft, shriveled and wilted ones.
  • Avocados: All Year: They should yield to gentle pressure; vary in size, shape and color from green to black. Brown markings on skin do not lower quality.
  • Bananas: All Year: They should be firm; yellow touched with green. If needed, ripen at room temperature.
  • Blueberries: June-August: Should be firm; plump; full-colored; bright, clean, fresh appearance.
  • Cranberries: September-December: Should be firm; plump; full-colored; bright, clean, fresh appearance.
  • Strawberries: March-July/June-August: Should be firm; plump; full-colored; bright, clean, fresh appearance. Only strawberries should have hull (stem cap) attached when mature.
  • Cherries: May-June: Should have a fresh appearance; firm; good size for type of cherry.
  • Coconuts: September-March: Should be good weight for the size; milk inside still fluid. If no milk, coconuts are spoiled. Avoid ones with moldy or wet-looking eyes.
  • Figs: July-September: Should be fairly soft to touch. Use at once, spoils quickly. Sour odor indicates overripe fruit.
  • Grapefruit: October-June: Should be firm; well-rounded; heavy for the size; smooth textured. Avoid coarse, puffy, rough-skinned fruit.
  • Grapes: June- December: Should be fairly soft; tender; plump. Well-formed clusters with green, pliable stems. Darker varieties are free of green tinge; green grapes have a slight amber blush.
  • Kiwi: June-August: Should be soft to the touch, like avocados. Sometimes called Chinese gooseberries.
  • Lemons: All Year: Should be fairly firm; smooth and glossy-skinned; heavy for size.
  • Limes: May-October: Should be heavy for size. Green variety are more acidic than yellow.
  • Mangoes: April-August: Should be solid and not too soft to touch. Can vary in size from a plum to an apple and in color from yellow to red. Smooth skin often speckled with black. Green mangoes are sometimes used in cooking.
  • Cantaloupes: May-September- The color and aroma are best guides. Delicate aroma; thick netting that stands out; yellow-tinged skin under the netting. No evidence of stem at blossom end.
  • Casabas: July-October: Buttery-yellow, wrinkled rinds, lengthwise furrows.
  • Crenshaws: July-October: Yellow-gold rind; pleasant aroma.
  • Honeydews: February-October: Creamy, yellow rinds; pleasant aroma.
  • Persians: July-October: Thick webbing; gray-green to brown skin under webbing.
  • Watermelons: May-August: Dull surfaces with cream-colored undersides; symmetrical shape.
  • Nectarines/Peaches: June-September: Should be plump; fairly firm depending on type. Skin color white or yellow with a red blush.
  • Oranges: November-June: Should be heavy for size; firm; skins not too rough.
  • Papayas: All Year: Should be greenish-yellow to full yellow in color; flesh gives slightly when fruit pressed in palm of hand.
  • Pears: August-May: Should yield to gentle pressure at stem end. Color ranges from creamy yellow to russet. Ripen at room temperature.
  • Persimmons: October-May: Should be firm; shapely; plump; orange-red color; attached stem cap. Handle gently. Looks like a large red tomato in shape and firmness
  • Pineapples: February-August: Should have “piney” aroma; golden-yellow; slightly soft. Ripe when leaf is easily removed. Green fruit may not ripen properly. Over-mature fruit may show soft-watery darker spots on the base or sides.
  • Plums: June-September: Should be plump; full-covered, soft enough to yield to slight pressure. Softening at tip is usually a sign that fruit is mature. Avoid shriveled and hard plums.
  • Pomegranates: September-November: Should be thin-skinned; bright purple-red; looks fresh.
  • Tangerines/Tangelos: November-January/January-October: Should be deep orange or yellow; glossy skin. Loose skin. Overripe fruit has puffy, dry skin.

**Coming Next Week: Vegetable Peak Months!

Aunt Laura’s German Apple Cake

Today’s family recipe is yet another from Aunt Laura (John’s aunt). It was also given to me by her daughter Ginny. I have not made this myself yet but I plan to! It sounds delicious!

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups finely chopped apples

1 cup sugar

¼ cup vegetable oil (Ginny recommends light olive oil)

1 egg beaten

1 cup unsifted all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ cup chopped nuts or chocolate chips or raisins, optional

DIRECTIONS:

1. Place apples in a bowl, add sugar and stir to mix. Let stand one hour.

2. Add oil and egg to the mix and stir in.

3. Sift flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir into mixture (DO NOT BEAT IN) and then stir in the vanilla.

4. Place mixture into a greased and floured 8″ square pan. Bake at 350º for 45-55 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes.

5. Serve frosted if you like or with ice cream or whipped cream!

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