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November, 2011

It's A Gala Affair

By Mark Mulcahy

If you are like me you appreciate it when US apple season starts. I have nothing against the fresh apples from New Zealand, Chile, or Argentina but there is just something special about the apples that are grown here
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Gala Apples

If you are like me you appreciate it when US apple season starts. I have nothing against the fresh apples from New Zealand, Chile, or Argentina but there is just something special about the apples that are grown here. Well Apple season has started and one of the first apples to ship on a nationwide level is the wonderful Melissa’s Organic Gala Apple. You’ll recognize it by its yellow-orange skin with red striping, though as the season progress’s you’ll notice the color turning nearly a solid red. Gala’s are a cross between the very well know apple the Golden Delicious and the little known Kidd's Orange Red. I was surprised that the gold delicious was one of the parents of this delicious apple and now pay more attention to its heritage when I eat a Gala. Next time you take a bite see if you can detect it’s golden parent. Melissa’s Organic Galas are a crisp, sweet apple with a mild flavor, which works well for salads as well as eating right from the fruit bowl. It is also a very nice dessert apple that is excellent baking, fried apples and apple butter.

When you are at the store choose Melissa’s Organic Galas that are firm, with a smooth and unblemished skin. You can check the firmness of the apple a couple of ways, one by holding it in the palm of your hand and seeing if it is solid and heavy, I know you hear me talk about the heaviness of fruit quite often but it really does make a difference. Try it yourself, as the season moves along pick up an apple in each hand to see if you can tell the difference. If you find a light and heavy one ask your produce person to give you a slice of each and see if you notice a difference in flavor and texture. I bet you will! Another quick trick is to flick the apple with your index finger and you should hear a tight high-pitched noise if the fruit is firm, if the noise is dull it will be less firm. When you get your Melissa’s Organic Galas home keep your apples in the refrigerator in a plastic bag unless you are going to eat them with in a day or two. Another thing to remember when you put your galas in the refrigerator is to keep them away from other vegetables due to the ethylene gas they release. Ethylene will ripen your vegetables faster.

There are lots Melissa’s Organic Apples coming our way and galas signal the start of a long delicious season. If someone asks you to toss him or her an apple you may want to think first before you throw. Because in ancient Greece, tossing an apple to a girl was a traditional proposal of marriage, catching it was acceptance. I wonder what making a pizza with apples on it means?

If you are looking for a tasty way to eat your fresh gala apples try this pizza recipe I adapted from the October 2011 issue of Cooking Light.

You can use any of your favorite store bought crusts or even better make one yourself.

Ingredients
1 Organic Corn Pizza Crust
3 cups (about 8 ounces) Organic Gala Apples, thinly sliced
1 cup (4 ounces) Crumbled Goat Cheese
2 teaspoons Fresh Thyme, chopped
1 tablespoon Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
2 teaspoons Dijon Mustard
1 teaspoon Fresh Lemon Juice
1½ teaspoons Honey
2 cups Organic Baby Arugula
3 tablespoons Chopped Pecans, toasted

Preparation
Preheat oven to 450°. Place pizza crust on a baking sheet. Arrange apple slices evenly over pizza crust; top with cheese. Sprinkle thyme evenly over cheese. Bake at 450° for 8 minutes or until cheese melts and begins to brown. Combine oil and next 3 ingredients (through honey) in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add arugula; toss gently to coat. Sprinkle pecans evenly over pizza; top with arugula mixture. Cut pizza into 6 wedges. Serve with a nice Caesar Salad and you’ll be set with a perfect Autumn lunch or easy dinner.