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.
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.
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.
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!
Make the Glaze
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]!