Eple, maca, mela, ping guo, pomme, manzana, tunda la kizuna…apple!*


I planted this tree about 10-12 years ago. Bought from a nursery in Gouverneur, on a whim. It started bearing a few apples about 3 years ago, more this year. I love this apple but can’t remember actual name–it’s like a gala, with a slightly wilder flavor.

Apple season is underway across the region–early apples being gathered and pressed and cooked.

Further along in this post, you’ll find ideas from visitors to our Facebook page for using all of those apples.

I think of apples as native to North America, but the fruit originated in Central Asia, spread across Europe and Asia, and was brought to this continent by European colonists.

It has certainly thrived across all but the most tropical states and north to much of Canada.


The old crab apple tree in my front yard: rootstock thanks to Fred Ashworth. It’s down to just one of the three lead trunk branches, but as productive as ever.



Fred Ashworth in 1924. Courtesy of SLU Brush Library, where you’ll find a wonderful page from Rootdrinker magazine (Alan Casline, editor) including some of Fred’s poetry.




On several occasions during the ’70s, I visited the nursery run by orchardist Fred Ashworth. In a way, he was the Johnny Appleseed of the North Country. Fred developed rootstock and graftings particularly suited to the region’s climate.

About 40 years ago, I planted one of Fred’s trees in my front yard. I can’t remember exactly what happened–was it extended -40F temperatures that first winter? rodents nibbling at the graft? heavy machinery hitting and breaking the graft?–but the graft died and we planned to pull the remains of the tree and try again.

However, during the summer, the tree sprouted and thrived. The crab apple rootstock Fred had used turned out to be indestructible.

These days, you can find Ashworth stock at St. Lawrence Nurseries outside of Potsdam.



Like the fine branches of an apple tree, writing, talking or thinking about apples can lead you all over the place. So, back to the task at hand: using the abundance of apples we have this year.

On the NCPR Facebook page, I asked you to give me your ideas for using apples. Here’s what you shared:

  • Jennifer Chasalow VanBenschoten Applesauce, and I make a dish that uses thick sliced rings of acorn squash filled with an apple/raisin sautee. Makes a good dinner!
  • Holly Balzer Applesauce!! And pie, and crisp, and Irish apple cake…
  • Kristie Jarvis Otero Apple-cranberry crisp. Apple pancakes. Apple cider donuts, from the Burrville cider mill. Baked apples. Caramel apples. Applesauce. Mulled cider (I always loved getting a cup at the old SLU bookstore). Can you tell my family loves apples?
  • John Warren Hard cider. Also, hard cider.
  • Michael Balonek Apple crisp is my favorite!
  • Darby Iaria Apples and nut butter.
  • Mark Holland DUMPLINGS!
  • Trudy Russ Rosenblum We dehydrated slices of our apples then vacuum packed them into small baggies for longer term storage. OMG, when eaten alone or with nuts these chewy treats are utter heaven!
  • Annette Nielsen You have to have applesauce — of course — made with a singular apple variety or a bunch — cooked down with apple cider (don’t need any sweetener, but if you think it’s a little tart, a splash of maple syrup is great). Can in pint jars and get a head start on your holiday gift giving. Nothing like the smell of applesauce simmering on the stove, especially if you have a cold, rainy day.
  • Bob Washo hard cider and vinegar
  • Sarah Scafidi-Mcguire apple ketchup. yum!
  • Rose Edward Apple crumble
  • Denise Wood I make applesause using a crockpot and no sugar though for a treat I will add strawberries. I leave it chunky too.
  • Virginia Burnett We made the best ever Applesauce last week. We’ve got one more tree that is ready to drop some more fruit so Applesauce round two might come on Monday. (The best part – because our apples don’t have pesticides sprayed on them, I heat and mash them up with the skins on and then put them through the strainer which makes for a prettier, tastier applesauce.)
  • Roger W Abramson Where are the apples that are the real McIntosh?? It’s the only variety my wife wants!
  • Emily Catillaz Smith In addition to pie and crisp I love a grilled cheese with sharp cheddar and apple slices.
  • Michael Balonek Or, since in the North Country things like this are possible, taking a bushel over to our friend’s old fashioned apple cider press and making a LOT of fresh apple cider!
    _ _ _ _ _
    What do I use apples for? All of the above, pretty much. My three absolute apple favorites:
    1. Sliced, crisp apple with slices of sharp cheddar cheese (please, both at room temperature).
    2. Baked apple, because my mother never served sweets for dessert but would core apples, sprinkle a little bit of brown sugar, nuts and raisins in the space left by the core, set in a flat pan with a little bit of water and bake at 350F for 20 minutes or until soft.
    3. Apple cake made by my German-born friend Jochen.
    Wandered past Tasha Haverty’s office as I was working on this article. She had a young friend with her. I asked: have you ever picked apples? Vigorous “yes” head nodding. Do you love picking apples? Yes, again. Here they are, wishing they could be out in the orchard rather than the office:

    David’s daughter Olivia and Tasha Haverty thinking about apples. Lots of apples!

    Everyone has their favorite cookbooks, but Betty Crocker is certainly a standard of the American landscape and, after all, apple pie is the food icon of our country. So, you’ll find ol’ Betty’s recipes for apples here.

    Okay, friends, bring on those apple recipes. Do you have a secret for the best pie? or apple crisp? What about using apples as a side dish at dinner? Or incorporating apples into a main dish? Let’s dish it out.

  • * In the title of this piece, the word for “apple” in this order from these languages: Norwegian, Portuguese, Italian, Chinese, French, Spanish, Swahili.

Tags: , , , ,

1 Comment on “Eple, maca, mela, ping guo, pomme, manzana, tunda la kizuna…apple!*”

  1. Michael Greer says:

    Janet was in Vermont last week and had some Vermont-style dried apples…came home and made up a batch in the dehydrator. Plain old apples, sliced horizontally, right through the peel and core, a thin 1/4 inch, and loaded into the food dehydrator. They are quite lovely, with their skin color and star shaped center, and have an extra tangy flavor ’cause of the skin.

Comments are closed.