An Apple A Day?
Karen Haram | Houston Chronicle
Olwen Woodier of Leesburg, Va., author of Apple Cookbook, likes to use apples in savory as well as sweet dishes, adding finely diced apples to salsa with fresh peaches and corn, cutting them in julienne strips and adding them to salads, and roasting them with chicken and pork.
“In salads, apples give texture; they’re nice with the softness of roasted red pepper in a salad. They’re also good diced and tossed with chickpea salad,” she says.
Pink Lady and Honey Crisp apples are among Woodier’s favorites for eating out of hand. “If you can find local Galas, they are good. I also like Fuji and Braeburn,” she says.
Although Texas isn’t the first state to come to mind when you think about apple production, apples are grown throughout the state, particularly in North Texas and the Hill Country.
Don Durflinger has been growing apples for 25 years at his Sonlight Apple Orchard in Mason. His pick-your-own orchard, open to the public on Saturdays through the end of October, grows McIntosh, Jonamac, Melrose, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Cameo, Sun Crisp, Fuji, Gold Rush and Pink Lady varieties. They sell for $1.50 a pound.
Unlike other parts of the country where pickers have to take a ladder to climb to the first branch of an apple tree, Durflinger’s trees are size-controlled, pruned to reach a maximum of about 8 feet.
“You can walk around the ground and pick apples off small-size trees. They work great for pick-your-own orchards,” he says, adding that you’d think “little bitty trees” would not have as many apples, but that’s not true.
Durflinger finds it impossible to pick his favorite apple — “My favorite is one picked at its peak sweetness,” he says — but he is certain about one thing.
“Apples grown in Texas have the right to be called the sweetest apples in the world because of the photosynthesis process,” he says, explaining that the more carbohydrates there are in an apple, the sweeter it is.
“The intensity of the sun in Texas generates more carbohydrates, so a tree-ripened apple in Texas compared to other states is about 14 percent sweeter. If you take a globe and look at Texas at the 30th parallel, the rest of the world at the 30th parallel is desert.”
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