Tasteful Memories |  

Tasteful Memories

Apple growing was the main livelihood for generations in my mother’s family, whose farm was in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. My mother loved to tell about the many trips her ‘Papa’ made by horse and wagon packed to the brim with large, plump apples to sell at the city market. He would leave before daybreak in order to obtain a good spot for sales. As a four-year-old she would wait up into the night to hear the squeak of the wagon wheels as he drove through the gate to the homeplace. Now, driving a horse and wagon through the mountains after dark was not an easy thing to do. ‘Papa’ followed the creek bed.

The family didn’t just grow apples to sell. Apples were a staple in the family diet. There would be apple butter spread on homemade hot biscuits at breakfast, there would be skillet-fried apples, baked apples, and apple sauce always available for a snack. As a child I remember watching ‘Papa’ (my grandpa) even top his cereal with applesauce at breakfast.

For most of us, whether we are aware of it or not, the sense of taste and smell can trigger memories. Thinking ahead to the holidays makes me want to bring out a time-worn family recipes for baked apples. As you might imagine, my mother and her two sisters each had their own twists for making the best baked apples.

To this day a big part of my joy, particularly at Thanksgiving, is digging out my mom’s recipe for apple muffins. They are so good, I want to share them with you:

Apple Muffins

Peel and finely dice 4 cups apples. Sprinkle over them 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice. Thoroughly combine the apples with 3 and 1/2 cups all purpose flour, 2 cups granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon soda, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.

Stir in 1 and 1/2 cups Crisco oil, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1 cup walnut pieces.

Add 2 beaten eggs along with 1/3 cup water. Half fill muffin cups. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. As muffins come out of oven, let them rest for 5-10 minutes before gently removing to serving plate.

Back when our mom was healthy, she would pack a box full of those muffins along with a baked ham and her angel biscuits on trips to visit us in Ohio.

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