A Gala Holiday Season
By Mark Mulcahy
The holiday and apple seasons are well under way and the Melissa’s organic apple choices are bountiful. I’m sure you have your favorites as I do, with all the options available these days. This fall, instead of staying with my usual choices I’m looking back at some of my old favorites.
One apple I’m enjoying again is Melissa’s organic Gala. You’ll recognize it by its yellow-orange skin with red striping, though as the season progresses you’ll notice the color turning nearly a solid red. Galas are a cross between the very well known Golden Delicious and the little known Kidd's Orange Red. I was surprised that the Golden Delicious was one of the parents of this delicious apple and now pay more attention to the heritage of all my apples when I eat them. Next time you take a bite see if you can detect the Gala’s golden parent.
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 see 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 within 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.
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 for baking, fried apples, apple butter and pizza.
Yep, I said pizza!
If you are looking for a tasty way to eat your fresh Gala apples this holiday try this pizza recipe that can give you the joy of making something homemade without taking the whole evening to do it. You can use any of your favorite store bought crusts or, even better, make one yourself. One of my favorite crusts these days is an organic corn crust that many stores are carrying in the cheese or fresh sauce section.
1 organic corn pizza crust
3 cups thinly sliced organic Gala apples (about 8 ounces)
1 cup (4 ounces) crumbled goat cheese
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
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
Serve with a nice Caesar salad and you’ll be set for a perfect evening of gift-wrapping or card signing.
Preheat oven to 450°F.
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.