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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Fried Apples

This summer, after years of talk (all talk!), the Husband and I finally took action and subscribed to a multi-farm Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. Every week the Bear and I drive downtown and pick-up our share of locally grown fruit, vegetables, and herbs. We also get a dozen eggs, a half gallon of milk, and a rotating staple item.
I’m glad we decided to do this despite the resulting: 
  1. Challenges: the preparation is rather time consuming and the weekly rate does not match dollar for dollar what I could get at the supermarket; 
  2. Failures: the Husband and I agree that no amount of salt or butter will ever make spaghetti squash appeal to us!; and 
  3. Weekly Temptation to Prepare Butter-Laden Pastries: including, apple crisp, peach cobbler, sorghum pie, and buttermilk biscuits...(none of which fit in with my intentions to eat less and drop a few pounds).
We have certainly enjoyed the summer harvest and remain confident that the fall will bring more than what we’ve seen in the past few weeks: squash, squash, squash. (At present I have five acorn squash in my pantry...Yikes!) 
A couple weeks ago our subscription included the saddest bunch of bad apples I have ever encountered. I felt guilty every time I spotted them (pun intended, of course), because I had a feeling that the next time I cleaned out the fridge they would be bound for the trash. At the next pick up I received a second bag of these gnarly little guys, (which by the way are called Arkansas Black Apples). Now I had two bags, totaling four pounds.What could I do?

Arkansas Black Apples

That weekend I had dinner with a friend who subscribes to the same CSA.
“What have you done with the sad, spotted apples?” I asked, almost certain she was contemplating the trash bin like me.
“I cored them, cut them in rings, and fried them,” she said. “The baby loved them!”
(Ah, girlfriends...they always have all the answers!)
A few days later I tried it for myself. Here’s what happened:

First, I diced the apples. 

Coring apples is one of my least favorite kitchen tasks (even though I own a corer, peeler, dicer gadget), so rings were out of the question for me. Additionally, my final product would have been much better if I had peeled the apples, but I knew this step would add at least 30 minutes to my prep time, which was out of the question because I had already spent nap time making Hearty Chicken Noodle Soup for dinner and knew the Bear could wake up at any minute.

Obviously, I cut out all the yucky parts. 

And thankfully, I encountered no worms, or parts of worms, or worm corpses of any sort (although I know they had to have been there at some point!).
My friend had mentioned that her recipe called for lemon juice, but none of the recipes I found listed lemon juice as an ingredient. I added it anyways; lemon juice prevents the flesh of the apple from browning, and I had a bag of lemons in the fridge. Other ingredients included butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

The recipe I consulted was the top Google hit for "fried apples" from I modified it just a bit:

SouthernFood.About. com says:
Librarian @ Home says:
8 medium Granny Smith apples, chopped
4 lbs. gnarly, spotted Arkansas Black apples diced (about 6 cups, once the rotten parts were removed)

Juice of one lemon (about 2 T)
1/4 c butter
3 T butter 
(Shhh! Don’t tell The Husband, but I usually cut the butter, knowing I can add more later if needed).
1/2 c brown sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar 
(Again, I cut back, knowing I can add more later).
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg

Dice apples, (peeling if desired), and toss in bowl with lemon juice.
Melt butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add apples, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Saute for 15 to 20 minutes, or until apples are tender.
Yes, with one note: the Arkansas Black Apples probably needed to cook longer than 20 minutes. The skins were quite tough, but I was afraid the flesh would become too mushy, so I took them off the heat after about 25 minutes.
Serve as a side dish for pork or with breakfast.
Serve to your toddler on a plate with a fork or mixed with baby cereal for breakfast. Can also be served with ice cream. (Just don’t tell The Bear about the ice cream, okay?)
Serves 6.
Serves 4: Mama Librarian 2x, The Bear 2x, (which is really the equivalent of 1x), and The Husband 1x. 

The next time I make fried "Arkansas Black" apples, I will definitely add all the sugar, because these were a little tart. I'll also consider peeling the apples, because, as I mentioned above the skins were a little tough. Still, all my efforts plus a dollop of ice cream turned my bad apples into something pretty good!

And that certainly beats a trip to the trash bin! 

Jaelithe, the L@H


  1. Yum! I think I'm going to try dicing next time, too. My newsletter says we're getting another batch!

  2. Have you tried using spaghetti squash in lieu of actual spaghetti noodles? I thought it was a pretty tasty (and healthy) substitute.

  3. Laura: You probably know by now that today's apples are Golden Delicious and look like something you'd see in a supermarket...unlike those sad Arkansas Black apples. I should probably just slice and eat them, but I am tempted to make an apple pie :)

    Sue: Great idea! I will certainly try your suggestion! I have one more spaghetti squash in the pantry. The Husband has made it known, however, that he is not interested in this AT ALL. I think I can get the Bear to eat it...if there is enough marinara that kid will, more often than not, go for it. Once in an act of desperation, I put ketchup on her steamed cauliflower. (And it worked!)

  4. Strangely, I also had a sub-optimal experience with spaghetti squash this week. My childhood memories tell me we used to bake it with maple syrup, like acorn squash, and that I liked it that way.

  5. There is a good spaghetti squash recipe on It has feta, tomato, olives, garlic, onion and basil. I toook it to a cookout and people seemed to like it.

  6. Laura: I love feta! I'll have to check it out!

    Everyone: I am happy to report that tonight I made spaghetti squash and served it mixed with some whole wheat pasta and a tomato basil marinara. I was starving when I sat down to eat dinner. I still don't love the spaghetti squash, but...I will no longer avoid it at my CSA pick-up! (Such avoidance is why I have so many darn acorn squash).

    Also, I forgot to include in my original much I love, love, love to make spaghetti squash. I love to scoop out the seeds and I really love to dig out all that spaghetti! It is super fun, which makes the taste even more disappointing, you know?

  7. Salt and pepper, as well as toppings, can make a ginormous difference with spaghetti squash. I was soooooo disturbed at first by it, but found that by playing around with herbs and spices I could find what works for the fam. Jase still prefers pasta, but at least he deals with the spaghetti squash on occasion. (considering how rarely it's available locally, that's not too often!)

    We saute sliced turkey breasts and then onions, diced tomatoes, diced bell peppers, and some celery. With italian spices and a smidge o' broth to make it a bit more "saucy" it's really good! I'll try to find the exact recipe, if you're interested.

    All I know for sure, is I'll be having some fried apples soon! Sounds sooooo tasty!!!! Great for a fall dessert. Yummmm

  8. Laura, I'm pretty sure that's the recipe we made. It wasn't inedible, but I wouldn't make it again.