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Sunday, November 4, 2018

ARKANSAS BLACK APPLES with great apple crisp recipe


A seven-acre orchard with about 240 trees doesn't make me an expert, but I know a little something about fruit.
Coyotes, turtles, birds, deer, and raccoons love it, and they will all eat the  Arkansas Black if there is nothing else around.

Seems you don't pick Blacks until it frosts. The longer you have them around the blacker and sweeter they become.
Last night I picked a bushel off of one tree, and it's not your typical apple tree. They are gnarly, skinny, and as atypical as can be. There is only one out there I would consider an apple tree

The main reason so many folks have never tasted them is that they are not marketed in your local grocery store, where the number one apple is a Red Delicious. It is red, sweet, and delicious. Clever name, huh?
My favorite apples are Gala or

Fuji. If you've never tasted different apples, branch out. Open a bag and put one of each kind in and see which you like best. It probably won't be Red Delicious.

An Arkansas Black Apple is a cross between a Winesap and a Pipkin, or so they think. Someone in Bentonville, Arkansas grafted trees together and came up with the apple. No one heard of an Arkansas Black before 1840 which takes Johnny Appleseed out of the picture. He was born in 1774 and would have been seventy-five by then.

Everything has a bright side. The bright side of blacks is that we will be eating the last of them in late February or early March.
My method of storage is rather simple. I don't wash them. I wrap each one in a square of newspaper and stack them in a cooler. 
The coolers (sometimes it takes several) ae stored in the barn. 
When we run out of apples in the house, I take a basket out and refill it.
As they age, they get a waxy feel to them. I wash them off because I don't know what might have touched them while they were on the trees.
We don't use pesticides or commercial fertilizers here. Poisons destroy the good nutrition apples provide.
Now that I am familiar with the apple I realize they are used in advertisements regularly. Before they sit in storage they are dark red with an almost lime green top.
I've added a great recipe I think all of you apple lovers will like. This recipe can be made with any variety of apple.
Apple Crisp Recipe

10 cups apples, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest  (optional)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup golden raisins (optional)
Topping Mixture:
1 1/2 sticks butter
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups oats
2 tablespoons lemon zest
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
Vegetable oil or cooking spray

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2.  Butter a 9 by 14 by 2-inch oval baking dish.
  3. Peel, core, and cut the apples into large wedges. Combine the apples with the
  4. sugar, and spices. Pour into the dish.
  5. To make the topping, combine the flour, sugars, salt, oatmeal, and cold butter in the bowl of an electric mixer
  6.  Mix on low speed until the mixture is crumbly and the butter is the size of peas. Scatter evenly over the apples.
  7. Place the crisp on a sheet pan and bake for 1 hour until the top is brown and the apples are bubbly. Serve warm.

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