By Debbie Carollo
Years ago, we lived in a home with a mini-orchard in the backyard. Our family enjoyed the pears, cherries, and plums, but the apples—oh, the apples! Those were our favorites, especially the Gravensteins. (It should be noted that our four kiddos weren’t quite as excited about owning an orchard on the pick-up-the-fruit-that-has-fallen-and-is starting-to-rot days.)
Apple harvest is here once again. Time for crunchy, juicy, fragrant apples and all that can be made with them.
In my humble opinion, apples have been given a bad rap. Who exactly decided the forbidden fruit eaten in the Garden of Eden was an apple? The Bible never tells us what the fruit was, only that it was “of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Genesis 2:17) and that Adam and Eve were instructed not to eat of it. Did you know that apples are actually spoken of favorably in the Bible?
In the Song of Solomon, apples are used as expressions of love and as compliments between the bride and groom. Proverbs 25:11 tells us “A word fitly spoken [is like] apples of gold in pictures of silver.” And my personal favorite, from a prayer of David: “Keep me as the apple of thine eye” (Psalm 17:8a).
Shamar ‘iyshown `ayin, in the original Hebrew. Guard, protect, and keep watch over me as the pupil of Your eye. Pupil? At the very center of the eye, the pupil guards the eye by controlling the amount of light allowed inside. Keep Your eye on me, God! Stand watch and guard me. Protect me and shine Your light on me. Never let me out of Your sight!
Apples are a great reminder for us all that God doesn’t let us out of His sight, ever. As you enjoy the bounty this fall, take the time to tell your kiddos that they are the apple of God’s eye. He will protect and keep watch over them. He loves them, dearly and perfectly.
And let’s remember to choose our words carefully, especially within our families, “like apples of gold in pictures of silver.”
Here are a couple of recipes for those wonderful, sweet-tart, fall-fresh apples.
This Cold Apple Cider Punch makes a splash at all our family’s get-togethers, and it pairs perfectly with a Thanksgiving feast (hint hint).
3/4–1 cup sugar, depending on your preferred sweetness
1 3-liter container of apple cider (about 3 quarts)
1 12-oz. can frozen grape juice concentrate, thawed
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. allspice
1 liter ginger ale, chilled
Stir together sugar, one cup of cider, cinnamon, and allspice in a large stockpot over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, and boil for 1 minute.
Turn off the heat and mix in the grape juice concentrate and remaining cider.
Put the lid on the pot and let it sit and cool down for a bit, stirring occasionally.
Refrigerate at least 2 hours. Pour in the ginger ale right before serving.
And to start your Thanksgiving holiday off with a special touch, try serving these Caramel-Apple Pie Muffins for breakfast. Or for a snack. Or any old time. They are good!
I must give credit to Gooseberry Patch for the original recipe that inspired this. I have never tried a recipe of theirs that I didn’t like.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup soured milk, or buttermilk
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup finely diced apple (about 1 medium)
12-14 caramels, unwrapped and diced
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix the flours, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl; set aside. In another large bowl, combine the milk, melted butter, egg, and vanilla; add in the flour mixture, and stir just until blended. Stir in diced apples and caramels.
Scoop batter into 12 paper-lined muffin cups. (You can find some really cute and inexpensive, paper muffin liners nowadays.) Bake for 18–24 minutes (check often), until the tops are set and the caramel bubbling. Serve warm, when the caramel is ooey-gooey and oh-so-delicious!
Remember how precious you are to God. He has His eye on you, watching over you lovingly. You are the apple of His eye!
Debbie savors life with her hubby and youngest daughter on their transplanted-to-the-suburbs Sonflower Ranch. Writing, gardening, quilting, petting cats, and partaking in “kitchen therapy” are her favorite to-do’s, but spending time with family trumps them all. For more ranch life antics, visit her personal blog at sonflowerranch.wordpress.com.