Apples help celebrate the best of the season

 

Use apples in a variety of ways - like toasted bread topped with brie, a slice of apple and bacon - throughout the holiday season ahead.

Use apples in a variety of ways - like toasted bread topped with brie, a slice of apple and bacon - throughout the holiday season ahead.
Photo by: familyfeatures.com

 

 

Family Features

 

 

If it seems like your grocery store's apple section is more abundant than it has been in the past, you'd be correct. With new apple varieties coming onto the scene every few years, gone are the days of choosing between simply red or green.

 

Instead, choosing the right apple is similar to selecting the perfect wine. Apples can range from tart to sugary sweet, so finding the right balance for your palate is key. Scent can also influence taste, especially when you have a balanced sweetness with an uplifting, fresh aroma.

 

When it comes to apples, a satisfying texture is as important as taste. Consider an option like the Envy apple, which has been referred to as "the ultimate apple experience" for its consistently balanced, delightful sweetness coupled with a crisp, elegant crunch. They are an easy snack when eaten fresh out of hand and are perfect for pairing with cheese, charcuterie boards, chocolate and nut butters.

 

 

Easy to spot with their crimson red skin over a golden background that practically glows, Envy apples are naturally descended from Braeburn and Royal Gala apple varieties, bred by farmers who use time-honored plant-breeding methods. Plus, the apples' bright white flesh is naturally slow to brown when sliced, so they stay fresher longer.

 

For more information, including recipes and entertaining tips, visit EnvyApple.com.

 

 

Creating the ultimate charcuterie board

 

Stick to the basics this holiday season to create a perfect charcuterie board:

 

  • The board: Select a board big enough for your gathering but not too big as you want there to be overlap and crowding.

     

  • The cheeses: Select three different cheeses that complement the other items. Brie is a solid soft cheese choice while blue fills the need for a stronger, more pungent cheese. Try an aged cheddar or smoky gouda to round out the trio.

     

  • The meats: Something salty with a little fat, like prosciutto or speck, provides a flavorful addition to the board.

     

  • The produce: Choose fruits that not only taste great, but are also beautiful to display such as Envy apple slices, which stay whiter longer, making them ideal for any entertaining occasion. Plus their balanced sweetness pairs well with any item on the board.

     

  • The crackers: Variety is key with crackers, and like the cheeses, three types is typically the magic formula. Think water crackers, multi-grain wafers and breadsticks.

     

  • The snacks: Sweet and salty are king when it comes to snacks, so a mix of chocolate and nuts works for many charcuterie boards.

     

     

    Home for the holidays

     

    Traveling to visit friends and loved ones will likely be limited this year, so make this holiday season a time for cherishing traditions in new, different ways. Consider these ways to make apples part of the celebration:

     

  • Break out the webcam and challenge your siblings to a cross-country apple pie bake-off.

     

  • Give a relish tray an upgrade with a sophisticated charcuterie board stacked with creamy gorgonzola cheese, salty caramel sauce, crunchy mixed nuts and crisp apple slices. Entertaining tip: Envy apples are a perfect addition to any holiday spread as their white flesh stays naturally whiter longer and resists the browning that sometimes shows with other apples.

     

  • Get transported from the comfort of your couch by watching one of Hallmark Channel's all-new original holiday movies, munching on apples as your movie-time snack.

     

  • Share the scents of the holidays with neighbors by crafting pomanders, which are fresh apples studded with whole cloves.

     

  • Fill decorative bowls with festive apples, enclose in cellophane and gift them to friends and family member.

     

     

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