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October 2000 Issue
by Ronda L. Halpin
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I was a lucky kid. I grew up surrounded by a loving family, lots of patient pets to dress up for tea parties, and an orchard filled with lots of apple trees. Spring saw that orchard filled with more pink blossoms than one would think possible and a fragrance that simply cannot be given its due with words. As the seasons progressed, tiny green bulbs would grow and begin to add hues of red to their skins. At first, all they were good for was throwing for the dogs in a good game of fetch. Then, as the weather turned cooler, we'd begin to take weekly -- and sometimes daily -- taste tests to determine when they were ready for eating. As the wind did its job of helping them find their way to the earth, we'd spend chilly evenings helping Mom peel, core and slice those that were good enough to find their ways into pies, cobblers and cakes. Others managed to make the transition to delightfully spiced applesauce. Of course, our favorites were those that we managed to pluck from the tree before the wind knocked them down and bruised them. Those were the perfect eating and storing apples. Of course, before our apples were ready for storing, we needed to wait for that first deep freeze of the fall season. I never knew why, but it seemed to take that first frost to make our apples ready for storing well into the winter months.

Well, those days are long gone now and while I still make the traditional trek to the orchard when the chilly days of autumn beckon, there's always a little extra longing for those special days in the orchard as a child. And, as I harvest another bushel of the sweetest apples I know, I smile a little more and make sure I find a couple that are just too beautiful to pass up. After all, what's a trip to the orchard without taking a sample of the season?

In honor of those precious orchard memories, I'm sharing some of my favorite apple recipes. Enjoy them with your favorite varieties of apples.

As always, I look forward to hearing from you about your recipe ideas and comments. You can always post comments in the discussion board using the forms provided in the articles or email me.
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