Take Home the Apple of Your Eye and Make More than Pie
A drive to the northwest of Charlotte this time of year can yield bushels of fun, with brisk weather and crisp apples fresh from the farm. Head toward the mountains and you can find several varieties ripe and ready, including honey crisp, red and golden delicious, cameo and granny smith.
Dozens of orchards offer pick-your-own opportunities for apples, pumpkins and more, as well as activities for the whole family.
When you’ve picked your peck, what will you do with it? There’s always mom’s apple pie, but Chef Ron Brener of the highly rated Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte, has another idea.
A cool salad can be just right on fall days that reach summer-like temperatures. So, in addition to that tasty pie, here’s an apple favorite from Brener:
Apple, Grape & Celery Salad
• 1/3 cup coarsely chopped pecans
• 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced on the diagonal, plus leaves for garnish
• 1 Honey crisp apple (or any crisp apple of choice), cored, halved, and thinly sliced
• 1 cup seedless red grapes, halved
• 1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar
• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread pecans on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake until lightly browned, 4 to 6 minutes. In a large bowl, combine celery, apple, grapes, vinegar, and oil. Season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine. Garnish with celery leaves.
If you need more ideas or a little practice, check out these Charlotte-area cooking classes.
For apples, try one of these area farms:
3465 Chimney Rock Road, Hendersonville
1261 Oakridge Farm Highway, Mooresville
Sky Top Orchard
3403 Greenville Highway, Flat Rock
Coston Farm and Apple House
3748 Chimney Rock Road, Hendersonville
187 Gerren Road, Hendersonville