October is a perfect time of year for picking (and enjoying) fresh, whole apples.
It’s also a great time of year to add them to special, seasonal treats—as many folks in New England do. In fact, I remember many years ago, we would often get a farm-fresh apple when trick-or-treating in New England, instead of a packaged candy bar. Or, sometimes, we would go bobbing for apples in a big barrel of water at a neighborhood Halloween party.
So, today, let’s talk a bit about the association between apples and all things American.
And then, I’ll share with you an apple turnover recipe made with honey…instead of sugar.
It’s as American as baseball…and apple pie…
Since almost the beginning of our country’s inception, apples have symbolized all things American. Indeed, as the catchy 1974 commercial went, Americans like, “baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, and Chevrolet.”
The association between apples and American culture is a bit curious, since the tasty fruit actually originated on the hillsides of Central Asia (today’s Kazakhstan). (The popular foods that are indigenous to the Americas are corn, cacao [chocolate], peppers, potatoes, squash, and tomatoes.)
So, just how did apples become synonymous with the American way life?
Well, I suppose we can give some credit to John Chapman, also known as “Johnny Appleseed,” the folk hero who literally put apples “on the map” in early America.
Chapman was born in the Massachusetts Bay colony, which was a hotbed of rebellion during the Revolutionary War. (Johnny’s father fought in the Revolutionary War and then returned home to teach his son how to run the family farm.)
Eventually, Johnny chose to leave the farm and head West, like much of the post-Revolutionary War generation.
Over the next 40 years, Johnny labored clearing land and planting apple seeds in territories that would become the mid-western United States. In fact, the presence of an orchard in land out West was a sign that settlement and civilization had come. (For better, or worse.)
Apples also thrived as a tree crop in the northern tier of North America—becoming an important food and drink source for the expanding population. Plus, people could store them in root cellars—for later use, and to make apple sauce, apple butter, and of course, apple pie.
And that brings me to one of my favorite, homemade recipes during this time of year: apple turnovers. They’re a lot less time consuming than making a whole pie, and they’re just as much a special treat…
My homemade apple turnover recipe (with honey, not sugar)
While people typically add sugar to turnovers, I suggest sticking with honey, vanilla, and a little lemon for flavoring. Then, just choose the type of apple you like.
Some of my favorite sweet-tasting varieties include:
- Golden Delicious (tree-ripened)
- Red Delicious
- Pink Lady
Or, if you prefer a tart, tarte turnover, opt for Granny Smith or McIntosh apples. This simple recipe serves about four people:
- 1 ½ cups thinly sliced apples (about 1 ½ medium-sized apples)
- ¼ cup honey
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp whole milk
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp organic, non-genetically modified (GM) flour
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp butter
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- 1 box of pre-made, organic, non-GM pie crusts
1.) Mix apples, honey, water, and lemon juice on medium heat, stirring, until bubbly.
2.) Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for seven minutes, until apples are tender.
3.) Mix the flour and salt, and gradually stir into apple mixture to thicken.
4.) Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla and cool for 15 minutes.
5.) Unroll pie crusts on ungreased baking sheet and spoon fruit mixture onto half of crust, leaving other half of crust at edges.
6.) In a small bowl, beat the egg and milk and brush over edges of crust.
7.) Fold half the crust over apple mixture, press edges to seal, and brush top with remaining egg batter.
8.) Bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees, until golden brown.
With this simple, wholesome recipe, you can enjoy all the flavors of fall…without the added sugar.
You can also learn more about the health benefits of apples in the September 2021 issue of my Insiders’ Cures newsletter (“Eve’s forbidden fruit really does help keep the doctor away…and so much more”). If you’re not yet a newsletter subscriber, now is the perfect time to become one!