Trudie Reed of legendary Reed Valley Orchard introduced me to Mutsu apples one Saturday at a long ago Lexington Farmers Market. I look forward to them each year. They aren’t great beauties, really. Sometimes they grow to be giants. I like their firm texture and sweet-tart flavor. Chill them, slice them, and spread with a little almond or peanut butter. Pair them with other Kentucky fall goodness and make Kentucky Fall Apple Salad. The recipe is below the photo. It’s also handy here in Savoring Kentucky’s Recipes section any time.
Kentucky Fall Apple Salad
I developed this salad one fall when Reed Valley Orchard’s Stayman Winesap, Mutsu and Gold Rush apples filled my house. I wanted sweet-tart apple crunch, tang, Kentucky nuts, and no goopy mayonnaise*. Bingo!
1 or 2 limes, zest grated if you like extra citrus punch
1 cup fresh hickory nuts, black walnuts, or pecans, toasted and finely chopped
8 fine, firm fall apples, diced with skins on: Gold Rush, Mutsu, or Stayman Winesap work well
4 stalks crisp celery, finely chopped
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/3 cup dried cranberries or dried sour cherries (chop these lightly if you like)
1/2 cup fresh mint, sliced fine
2 Tablespoons neutral oil like grape seed, or a nut oil like pecan, walnut, or hazelnut if you like
2 teaspoons Kentucky sweet sorghum syrup (omit or add more at your option)
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish (the kind with nothing but horseradish, or just horseradish and vinegar; no cream or oil)
Squeeze the juice from one lime into a large work bowl.
As you dice apples, put the dice in the work bowl and toss to coat with lime juice to keep the apples from browning.
Add the chopped celery, pecans, golden raisins, dried cranberries or cherries, fresh mint and lime zest, if using.
Stir together the oil, sorghum, and horseradish.
Add the oil mixture to the apple mixture and toss thoroughly.
Taste and adjust to suit the apples and your preferences.
· Want it more tart? Squeeze half or all the second lime and add it.
· Want it sweeter? Add more sorghum.
· Want more zing? More horseradish.
· Want more color? More cranberries or celery, or both.
Garnish with extra mint, curls or lime peel, rose petals or fall marigold blossoms from your garden.
* According to my (still true) Mayo Manifesto, I enjoy mayonnaise a great deal, sometimes with apples—provided I make the mayo myself. My current favorite recipe is J. Kenji López-Alt’s Two Minute Mayonnaise. I use a lot more lemon juice than he prefers.