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Patty Craig: A Slice of Time

My grandparents and my parents both had apple trees in their yards. Those trees are connected to some of my childhood memories. My siblings and I climbed my parents’ trees and ran around them to catch lightning bugs as well as imaginary “bad guys.” Those apple trees provided protection when playing Hide-and-seek and shade in the heat of the day.

More importantly to my grandparents and parents, those trees produced apples. According to the Internet (www.nutrition-and-you.com), apples are a healthy food choice:
1.    Apples have essential nutrients required for normal growth and development and overall nutritional well-being.
2.    An apple contains good quantities of vitamin-C and beta carotene. Vitamin C is a natural antioxidant and helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents.
3.    This fruit is a good source of B-complex vitamins such as riboflavin, thiamin and pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), helping with metabolism and other functions.
4.    Apples contain a small amount of minerals like potassium, phosphorus and calcium. Potassium helps control heart rate and blood pressure.
5.    Apples are rich in antioxidants.
6.    Apples are also low in calories. They contain no cholesterol, but are rich in dietary fiber, helping to prevent absorption of dietary LDL cholesterol in the gut.
I’ve always liked apples. One of my early memories is of entering my grandmother’s kitchen on an apple-peeling day. My great-grandmother lived with my grandmother, and that day the two of them had peeled apples for freezing. They had filled huge – especially to my little girl eyes – pans with freshly peeled and sliced apples. My siblings and I were allowed to snack on some of those ripe yellow apples. Delicious!

My late husband also had an apple tree memory. We had been married for a short while when my granddad decided that the apple tree had too many apples. He feared the limbs would break. My granddad was a caretaker: he had lived through the Great Depression and practiced caring for what was his. So, Granddad asked my husband to climb up into the tree and shake the limbs so that some of the apples would fall, reducing the weight on the limbs. As my husband was doing what Granddad asked, my grandmother spotted them through the kitchen window. Grandmother was not happy with the scene before her: those ripening apples falling to the ground. She came through the back door, determined to put a stop to such nonsense. My husband would laugh at this point, saying one grandparent was saying, “Stop!” and the other was saying, “Keep shaking!”
Over the years, both Grandmother and Mom have generously sent care boxes home with me. Many of these care packages included home-canned and frozen foods, such as frozen bags of apples. Knowing how good the food would be, I was always excited by the packages and grateful for their labor. One of my favorite winter snacks is stewed apples, cooked with margarine and sugar – and sometimes a bit of cinnamon. I am also fairly partial to apple cobbler. Worth the calories!
My daughters, my grandchildren and I plan to visit a nearby orchard this week. Hopefully, we’ll create a happy memory and I’ll come home with apples to freeze for a wintery day.

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