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Holly Ebel: From Adam and Eve to First Kiss

October 3, 2018

Say goodbye to raspberries, strawberries, blueberries and peaches — it’s now apples’ turn to take center stage.

Whether you eat them out of hand as a snack or make them into one of the many desserts where they star, these are the days where they come into stands and farmers markets, waiting for us.

When we think about apple desserts, likely the first one that comes to mind is apple pie, an American favorite for centuries — practically a symbol of America itself. The thing is, there are many other ways to get the most out of apples that are just as tasty and delicious.

Almost since time began, apples have been made into sauce, cider, butter and brandy. They’ve been stewed, fried and baked. They’ve gone into fritters, strudels, dumplings and, of course, pies.

The difference between an “OK” apple dessert and a great one? You guessed it — the apples. When an oven or stove is involved, not every apple is created equal.

So how to choose? There are upwards of 2,500 varieties grown in this country, with more joining the ranks every year. Here in Minnesota, I’d say we have just about the best apple crops anywhere, thanks to the University of Minnesota’s Horticultural Research Center.

Over the past 40 years, that center has given us Haralson’s, Honeycrisp, Keepsake and Prairie Spy. There are more: Zestar, Snow Sweet, Sweet Tang and the newest, marketed as First Kiss (I love that name). In fact, it was introduced for the first time at the State Fair this year was sold out in 48 hours at $3 per apple.

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