Apples

Crunchy, sweet, and delicious, apples are easy to love. And, with 2,500 varieties of apples grown in the US, there are so many different kinds to try.

In the Garden

Apple trees are a long-term investment and can take multiple years to produce fruit after planting. However, they can live up to 100 years old, providing food formultiple generations. Site selection is key when planting apple trees in your garden or yard. Look for a southern aspect with deep, well-drained, and fertile soil that is free of “cold pockets” and wind. If planting more than one apple tree, space them 25 feet apart. 

Apple trees are typically planted by grafting, the process of combining two plants into a single tree. A fruiting plant is inserted into the rootstock of another to create a graft. This process can help produce apple trees that are more disease and insect-resistant and hardy in cold conditions. 

Plant the graft with the bulge between the rootstock and flowering plant at soil level. Create a depression around the tree for a watering well. Water frequently during the first few years and during any dry periods to establish a healthy tree. Pruning in early spring can help develop a framework for apple production. 

To learn more about planting apple trees, check out MSU Extension’s Guide to Growing Fruit Trees in Montana

Food pantries and cideries often accept donations if your apple tree produces more than can be consumed. In Gallatin Valley, Lockhorn Cider House has a backyard brew blend program and offers hard cider in exchange for apple donations.

In your Medicine Cabinet 

While an apple a day may not necessarily keep the doctor away, apples offer many health benefits. They are a great source of Vitamin C, potassium, and fiber.  They are also rich in quercetin, a flavonoid that has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. The majority of nutrients lie in the skin or the area just below it so enjoy fresh, whole apples to reap the most benefits. 

In the Kitchen

Apples are sweet and delicious on their own. You can slice them up with some nut butter or cheese for a well-balanced snack. They are are delicious baked ordehydrated. And they make very tasty fall treats when dipped in caramel or chocolate.

What makes apples extra special is their versatility and ability to elevate a number of dishes.  Here is a recipe round-up of apple recipes for fall:

And, to make your fall a little bit sweeter, make our Chai Spiced Apple Galette. It’s the perfect addition to Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner with your loved ones.

Find the full recipe below. And, if you are looking for more seasonal recipes, be sure to check out our other MT Plate recipes!


Chai Spiced Apple Galette

Servings: 6

Vegetarian

Galette

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
6 Tbsp just softened butter cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 tsp sugar plus 2 Tbsp, divided
1/8 tsp salt
3 1/2 tbsp chilled water
5-6 firm apples like granny smith (about 2 lbs)
2 Tbsp melted butter

Chai Glaze

3 chai tea bags
1.5 cups water
1 cup granulated sugar

Instructions

  1. To prepare the dough, mix the flour, 1/2 tsp sugar, and 1/8 tsp salt in a large bowl. Add 2 Tbsp of the just-softened butter and blend with a mixer until the dough looks like coarse cornmeal. Add the remaining 4 Tbsp of butter and continue mixing until the largest pieces are pea-sized.
  2. Slowly add in 1 Tbsp of water at a time and mix. Keep adding more water until the dough just holds together. Knead with your hands a few times to make sure there are no large dry patches. Keep working the dough until it can be rolled into a ball. Flatten it into a 4-inch thick disk and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight.
  3. Preheat your oven to 400°F. Let your prepared pie dough soften until it becomes malleable but is still chilled. Dust a surface lightly with flour and roll out your dough into a 14-inch circle. You want it about 1/8th inch thick. Place your rolled-out dough onto a lightly-greased baking pan and put it back into the fridge to keep it chilled while you prepare your apples.
  4. Peel, core, and slice your apples into ¼ inch slices. Put your apple scraps aside to use for the glaze.
  5. Starting about 2-inches from the edge of the dough, lay your apple slices in a ring. Overlap them slightly. Continue working your way inward, using smaller apple slices at the center.
  6. Fold the dough edges over the top of the apple slices and crimp to seal. Brush melted butter over the apples and the dough edges. Sprinkle the whole tart with 2 tbsp of sugar.
  7. Bake in the oven for approximately 35-40 minutes, or until the edges are a true golden brown, rotating every 15 minutes.

Make your Glaze

  1. Bring 1 ½ cups of water to a boil in a medium pot. Remove from heat and add the chai tea bags. Cover and steep for 10 minutes. Remove the tea bags and stir in the sugar and some of your reserved apple peels.
  2. Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until the sugar has completely dissolved. Brush or drizzle over the top of your warm galette. Serve as is or top with vanilla ice cream and enjoy!

Find more seasonal recipes at The MT Plate.


Tracee Hume is a Registered Dietitian and Bozeman-based Communications Coordinator for Abundant Montana. She loves making a mess in her kitchen, but doesn’t love cleaning it up. Send her your favorite recipes at [email protected]!

Abundant Montana is a Program of AERO (Alternative Energy Resources Organization), a 501(c)3 Non-Profit

Mailing address: PO Box 1558, Helena, MT 59624
Physical address: 32 S Ewing St #333, Helena, MT 59601