Celebrating the Season of Apples

Author: Meera, October 27, 2015

It’s that time of year when the scents of cinnamon and apple potpourri mingle with hot mulled cider. Thank you, Johnny Appleseed.


Or should I say, thank you, John Chapman (1174-1845). Born in Leominster, Massachusetts, Chapman planted apple orchards on lands in the northeastern and mid-western parts of the United States, returning after several years to sell those orchards after they were producing.


He also gave away many trees and seeds. But he didn’t believe in grafting, and the trees he planted bore apples more suited to cider. See, http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/real-johnny-appleseed-brought-applesand-booze-american-frontier-180953263/?no-ist



It was John Chapman’s father Nathaniel–a farmer–who encouraged his son to become an orchardist.  John planted more than a few orchards around the Midwest on lands he bought, owned, and sold. His life gave rise to the folk tradition of Johnny Appleseed. Today, there are many festivals that honor his life and work as well as a U. S. postage stamp.




Cox orange pippin apples in a two-year-old tree

Cox orange pippin apple on a two-year-old tree




Today, you don’t need a lot of land to grow an apple tree or two. Even a small piece of land can accommodate the fruit tree, thanks to the availability of dwarf and semi-dwarf varietals. Apartment dwellers and people who have limited space can even espalier an apple tree against a wall.


On the Henny Penny Farmette, we are growing the thin-skinned Cox Orange Pippin dessert apple, among others. This late-season varietal was first grown in 1825 in Colnbrook in Buckinghamshire, England. The flesh is orangey-red and the flavor is sweet and nutty. These apples can be eaten fresh, used in recipes, or made into cider.


If you have some cider on hand and would like to create the mulled apple cider flavor,  add a couple of cinnamon sticks, a teaspoon each of whole cloves and allspice with a half-gallon of cider and heat in a saucepan. Add a little orange juice or some slices of orange. After simmering for 8 to 10 minutes, strain the mulled cider into mugs. Consider making a batch of farmhouse doughnuts to accompany the cider.






1 pkg. yeast


1 cup lukewarm milk


1/2 teaspoon salt


31/2 cups flour


1/4 cup canola oil, plus oil for frying


1 cup brown sugar


2 eggs, well beaten


3/4 teaspoon nutmeg





Mix together the yeast and milk in a small bowl.


Combine flour with salt in a large bowl.


Add the yeast and milk to the flour and salt mixture and beat well.


Let the mixture rise for one-half hour.


Add all the other ingredients and beat well again.


Let rise for one hour.


Punch down the dough. If it appears too soft to roll out, add more flour.


Turn the dough out onto a well-floured board and let the dough rest for ten minutes.


Divide the dough in half. Roll one section of dough out to 1/2 inch thickness and cut with a doughnut cutter. Repeat the process for the other half of the dough.


Let the doughnuts rise for about an hour; fry in oil at 360 degrees Fahrenheit. When the doughnut has turned brown, flip over. Take care not to burn.


Remove from doughnuts from hot oil and drain on paper towels.


Place doughnuts in a bag with granulated sugar and shake to coat. Makes approximately two dozen doughnuts and holes.





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