Fruit of the Week: Apple

– The apple is a sweet, crunchy fruit that grows in many different colours (red, green, yellow, pink, russet or even bi- and tri-coloured) and varieties
– More than 7500 apple cultivars exist around the world!
– The primary ancestor of today’s domesticated apple originated in Central Asia
– Apples and apple seeds from Europe were brought to North America by colonisers in the 1600s
– Crab apples grew in North America prior to colonisation and are still used in Indigenous foods such as jellies
– Apples are ready to be harvested by late summer and into the fall season
– Apples come in a wide variety of sizes, but commercial growers today generally aim to produce fruit that are 7.0 – 8.3 cm in diameter
– Cultivated apple trees grow to stand between 6 – 15 feet tall because they are grafted to a dwarfing rootstock
– Wild apple trees can grow as tall as 39 feet
– Commercial apples are propagated through grafting rather than from seed
– Apple trees grown from seed would likely produce an apple too sour to be eaten raw, but which could still be used in cooking
– Apples can be bred for a variety of purposes based taste and usage, such as eating raw, cooking, producing apple cider or fermented to produce alcoholic cider
– Large scale commercial apple industry began in Washington State during 1900s following land irrigation projects
– The shores of Lakes Ontario, Erie, Huron and the Georgian Bay are Ontario’s hotspots for apple production
– 10% of Ontario’s apples are exported while the rest are sold in Ontario as fresh apples or processing for juice, apple sauce etc.
– Three quarters of Ontario fresh apple production is distributed through grocery stores and the rest through farmer’s markets, roadside stands and pick-your-own operations
– The number of imported apples distributed in Ontario grocery stores has increased significantly over the last decade
– Today, China, the United States and Turkey are the top three apple producers in the world

Cinnamon Apple Oat Cakes

Cinnamon Apple Oat Cakes
Makes 12 servings

Ingredients:
– 3 cups old-fashioned oats
– 1/4 cup brown sugar
– 2 teaspoons baking powder
– 1 teaspoon cinnamon
– 3/4 teaspoon salt
– 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
– 1/2 cup applesauce
– 1/2 cup plain yogurt
– 1/2 cup nonfat milk
– 1/4 cup canola oil
– 1 teaspoon vanilla
– 2 eggs
– 2 medium apples, peeled, cored, and finely chopped, about 2 cups
– Heavy cream, whipped or plain

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350°.
2. Grease a 12-cup muffin pan.
3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
4. In a second mixing bowl, whisk together the applesauce, yogurt, milk, oil, vanilla, and eggs.
5. Pour the wet ingredients onto the dry, and add the apples.
6. Fold gently to combine.
7. Spoon the mixture into the prepared muffin pan.
8. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden.
9. To freeze, store the baked and cooled cakes in an airtight container in the freezer. Thaw completely overnight and reheat in the microwave or hot oven.

Vegetable of the Week: Carrot pt. 4

Selection and Storage:
– Carrots have a crisp texture when fresh
– Fresh carrots are available in the markets around the season
– While buying, look for young, tender, bright-colored roots with firm consistency
– Avoid soft, flabby roots, with cuts or mold
– Avoid very large-sized roots as they are indication of over maturity
– Greenish discoloration near a carrot’s top end may diminish its sweet taste
– Generally, the top greens are cut from the root before storing in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator where they keep well for 1-2 weeks
– For long term storage, unwashed carrots can be placed in a bucket between layers of sand, a 50/50 mix of sand and wood shavings, or in soil
– A temperature range of 0 to 5 °C is best

Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake
Makes 1 9×13 inch cake

Ingredients:
For cake:
4 eggs
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 cups grated carrots
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
For frosting:
1/2 cup butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. Grease and flour a 9×13 inch pan.
3. In a large bowl, beat together eggs, oil, white sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla.
4. Mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
5. Stir in carrots.
6. Fold in pecans.
7. Pour into prepared pan.
8. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
9. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.

To Make Frosting:
1. In a medium bowl, combine butter, cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla.
2. Beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
3. Stir in chopped pecans.
4. Frost the cooled cake.
5. Enjoy!

Fruit of the Week: Blackberry pt. 2

Health:
– High nutritional contents of soluble and insoluble dietary fibre (produces healthful compounds in your body, prevents constipation), vitamin C (essential nutrient), and vitamin K (helps you to synthesize blood proteins, strengthens bones)
– Blackberry seeds contain oil rich in omega-3 and -6 fats as well as protein and dietary fibre

Whole Grain Blackberry Coffee Cake

Whole Grain Blackberry Coffee Cake
Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients:
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, divided
3/4 cup quick cooking oats
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup milk
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups blackberries
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Coat 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
3. Combine ¼ cup all-purpose flour, oats, brown sugar and butter in small bowl.
4. Mix with fork until crumbly; set aside.
5. Combine remaining 1 cup all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, milk, granulated sugar, oil, egg, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in large bowl.
6. Beat with mixer or whisk 1 to 2 minutes until well blended.
7. Fold in berries.
8. Spread batter in prepared pan.
9. Sprinkle evenly with reserved oat mixture.
10. Top with chopped walnuts.
11. Bake 38 to 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
12. Serve warm and enjoy!

Fruit of the Week: Mango pt. 4

Preparation and Serving:
– Wash mangoes under cold running water in order to remove dust and any residue
– Dry its outer skin using a soft cloth
– Cut the fruit lengthwise into three pieces in such a way that the middle portion consists of husky seed. Then, slice through the skin to separate the skin from the pulp. Chop pulp into desired sections
– Or using a sharp knife, cut through the flesh on either side of the central seed. This way, you get two big halves of a mango fruit. Then, take one-half and score the flesh in a horizontal and vertical pattern taking care not to cut deep through skin. Invert the whole half to push out the cubes
– Sour, unripe mangoes can be used for chutneys, pickling, side dishes, or eaten raw with salt, chili, or soy sauce
– Ripe mangoes can be used to make curry, juice, jam, ice cream, pies, sauces, eaten raw, or used as a flavoring

Mango Cake

Mango Cake
Makes 15 servings

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups peeled and mashed ripe mangoes
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup chopped pecans or 1 cup walnuts
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter or 1/4 cup margarine, softened
2 1/4 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°
2. In a mixing bowl, add the mango, sugar, and eggs; stir to combine.
3. Add in the flour, baking soda, pecans, and 1 teaspoon vanilla; stir to combine.
4. Pour batter into a greased and floured 13×9 inch baking pan.
5. Bake in oven for 35-40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean; let cool.
6. In another mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, butter/margarine, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract; stir to mix well.
7. Spread over the cake.
8. Cut into squares and serve.
9. Enjoy!

Veggie of the Week: Zucchini pt. 4

Prep and Serving:
– Wash thoroughly in cold, running water before cooking
– Scrub if dirt is visible
– Trim the bases
– It is recommended to leave the peel on!
– Zucchini is extremely versatile! It can be steamed, boiled, grilled, stuffed and baked, barbecued, fried, baked into bread or cake, eaten raw, sliced or shredded into cold salad, or cooked into hot salad
– Can be eaten simply fried with butter or oil with herbs which allows it to partially boil and steam

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Chocolate Zucchini Cake
Makes 1 – 9×13 inch pan

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
3 cups grated zucchini
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. Grease and flour a 9×13 inch baking pan.
3. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
4. Add the eggs and oil, mix well.
5. Fold in the nuts and zucchini until they are evenly distributed. Pour into the prepared pan.
6. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes in the preheated oven, until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. 7. Cool cake completely before frosting with your favorite frosting.
8. Enjoy!