By Louise Oliver
With Halloween near, it’s time to get the apples ready for dooking – perhaps the one time of year that the kids are fighting over the humble fruit. That is until the onset of the toffee apple, the big hitter in the autumnal festivities, and a particular favourite on bonfire night. With the windfall of Fife apples: organic, un-waxed, and a variety of tangy, crisp flavours, who says that apple fun is just for the kids?
Firstly – for both adults and kids alike – it’s a good idea to a have a look at the benefits of apples. There is a large collection of research that links eating apples with a reduction in the risk of cancer, asthma, heart disease and type 2 diabetes, for more info see here:
This may be as a result of apples being distinctly rich in various different phytochemicals which have been linked with a reduction in the risk of many chronic diseases. Apples also contain a handy amount of vitamin C which research suggests boosts the immune system and potassium, which may reduce blood pressure. As most of the phytochemicals and fibre are encased in the skin, unpeeled apples are a better option, and as with most fruits the whole apple is better for you than its juiced version. Apples are also a good source of soluble fibre, which reduces the rate at which sugar is released into the blood stream.
Whilst there is no getting out of the fact that these autumnal treats encase the apple in a sprinkling or 3 of sugar, remember – unlike the supermarket equivalent- you control the amount of sugar here and autumnal festivals such as bonfire and Halloween are but once a year. So time to crack open the sugar jars.
Though toffee apples are aimed at kids, the making of the toffee apples is best reserved just for adults. The kids can have fun finding the sticks and possibly impaling the apples! Whilst the boiling of sugar may sound perilous, just arm yourself with a large pan, some long twigs and really the only problem here is remember to wash up any dregs off toffee at the bottom of the pan – otherwise I predict some hard duty scrubbing afoot. In order to make your apples even more local there is a recipe that requires no raw cane sugar and opts instead for honey: Fife Toffee Apples, result in a crisp toffee that has a fudgy taste, I added a few drops of red food colouring, trust me the result is still cracking and perfect for Halloween. For those of you hankering after the raw sugar option there is a traditional recipe for toffee apples.
With the trickier apple recipe under your belt, here are a couple of speedy and simple apple delights.
The tangy notes of an apple are softened with a little hint of spice, particularly cinnamon and nutmeg. Apple cinnamon crisps, are a devilishly simple to conjure up and are perfect nibbles to see you through the darker nights and provide a welcome warming spice to your lunchbox.
All this talk of winter warmers it may feel a little early to discuss the annual question of whether or not Christmas will be white, but armed with this simple recipe you can magic snow whenever necessary. Apple snow is as fun to make as it is to eat, it’s simply apple purée whisked through a fluffy meringue mixture and whilst aimed at kids is a sure fire hit with adults too. Serve it with some apple crisps, custard or whipped cream- a perfect topping to adorn the Christmas trifle!
So apple autumnal festivities are fun and tasty for all ages and armed with these recipes, awaken the inner child in you and just in time for the colder days ahead, grab yourself (and the kids) an apple treat.