Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Eat a sheep’s nose

Nothing gives more, yet asks less in return, than a tree, particularly the apple,” said Jonathan Chapman. Better known as Johnny Appleseed, Chapman spent a half-century promoting the apple's many gifts. Besides providing flowers in the spring and shade in the summer, the tree gives us fruit in the fall. Countless dishes – from pies and cakes to sauces and butters – are made from apples. We can drink its juice and, if we age it a bit, tipple its hard cider.

The fruit is tasty and nutritious, full of fiber. It comes in a perfect package: attractive, long-lasting, and 100% biodegradable.

More than 2,000 apple varieties were once grown in the United States, offering a huge variety of flavors, as well as textures, colors, picking times, and durability. Apples names like Westfield, York imperial, black gilliflower, Baker, Newtown pippin, Stayman, and Esopus Spitzenburg were once commonplace. Today we’re lucky to find a half-dozen kinds in a supermarket and a dozen at an orchard.

However, “antiques” are still around and if you’re out for a ride in rural America, watch for an orchard carrying Dutchess of Oldenburg, opalescent, Ashmeads kernel, or even sheep’s nose. Buy a bag and taste Americas yesterday.

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