Book Review: an apple harvest: recipes and orchard lore | The Gingered Whisk: Book Review: an apple harvest: recipes and orchard lore

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Book Review: an apple harvest: recipes and orchard lore

I found a lovely new cookbook at the library the other day. In fact, I liked it so much that I decided not only did I want my own copy of it, but I wanted to share it with you, too!!

"an apple harvest: recipes & orchard lore" by Frank Browning and Sharon Silva is honestly the first cookbook that I have ever read cover to cover. Normally I skim through, look at the pictures, glance at a few recipes and exact immediate judgement on the book. Not so here. I read every single word and loved it more and more as I went through.

Fox Mountain Parsnips (made with apple cider, dried apples and cream!)

The introduction is the perfect place to begin here. Each author gives a short background on their families involvement with apples (both families grew them), and both read like captivating short stories.  A brief history of apples is also given, which I found to be really interesting (I'm a sucker for history, anyway, so it was kind of inevitable). For instance, did you know that there are 6,000 different types of apples? But only a few hundred are good enough to eat. The delicious edible apples that we know today first evolved in Kazakhstan about 10,000 years ago and found their way across the world thanks to the Silk Route trading. The book boasts a really interesting history on how apples became used first as means to make hard drinks to being used in beautiful tarts and pies.

The book also gives a great description of how to choose the right apple - whether you want one for a snack, a savory dish, or for a pie. Each apple tastes different, has different textures and can withstand cooking differently, especially depending on where it was grown. For instance, a Cortland apple (grown in NE United States) is sweet with a slightly tart undertone. They are poor keepers, but make for excellent snacks because they don't oxidize when cut, and good for applesauce because they break down when cooking. The Jonathan apple is highly aromatic and sweet-tart. It is great for eating raw, and since it holds its shape well, is good for frying, roasting, and using in pies and applesauce.

Baked Pork Chops Bayeux

Last, but definitely not least, are the recipes! There are some great recipes in here, everything from main dishes to sides, desserts, and even drinks! Some of the recipes are ones that I have heard of before, but a lot of them are unique to me, and all sound wonderful! I tried out two different recipes- Fox Mountain Parsnips and Baked Pork Chops Bayeux (however I have a billion more bookmarked, but I had to return it to the library before I got to them). The Fox Mountain parsnips were really good - I love parsnips anyway, but this was a really unique way to eat them. Studded with dried apples, cider, and cream, they were delicious! The Baked Pork Chops Bayeux were fun and delicious, too. A simple pork chop, topped with an apple ring, cream, and thyme, and baked until tender and juicy. It was delicious and fancy, and I felt like I should be in a French Cafe!

I really enjoyed this book, and have definitely added it to my "Wish List"! I have also done nothing but talk about this book to Joel, who said I could buy it when he gets to buy a banjo (Yes, a banjo. Apparently our time here in WV will not be complete unless he learns to play the banjo...?). I definitely recommend checking this book out! 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the review - I'm always interested in hearing thoughts on cookbooks. I know I would like this because we always end up with TONS of apples here in western NY each fall that I am always looking to use in new ways.


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