English Cottage Gardening – Plant An Apple Tree For Arbor Day

Johnny_Appleseed_1972_post_card

This Friday, April 26 is Arbor Day in the US. It’s a day when individuals and groups are encouraged to plant and care for trees.

Arbor Day originated in Nebraska on April 10, 1872 and an estimated one million trees were planted that day. Many countries now observe a similar holiday.

Planting trees is also very good for honey bees.

Did you know that trees provide most of the surplus nectar and pollen for bees?  Or that 5 or 6 trees produce as much nectar and pollen as a whole field of wildflowers?

Most people don’t.  That’s unfortunate because planting a tree, especially in an urban area, is one of the most effective things you can do to help save the bees.

So what kind of tree belongs in an English cottage garden? The only trees that can be said to be truly authentic to the cottage garden are fruit and nut trees. An added bonus is that bees love them!

The notion of planting a tree for shade would have been totally foreign to cottage gardeners. A tree was worthy of space in the garden only for what it could produce for the table. Most of these traditional trees weren’t large and were further pruned back to reduce their height for ease of harvest.

Cottage Garden with Apple Tree

Cottage Garden with Apple Tree

Apple trees were by far the most common type of tree found in a cottage garden. Cultivars which are especially suitable are Heyer #20, Parkland, and Rutherford.

So plant a tree and save a bee this Arbor Day!

The Romancing The Bee Diet – Day 3 – Breakfast Baked Apple With Honey

microwave baked apples

Day 3 and I feel great!!  I lost another half pound, making a total of 1 1/2 pounds to date!!

I had this for breakfast -every bit as good as broiled grapefruit!!

Yield:  1 serving

Ingredients:

1 large apple, cored and, if you like, peeled.  (I used Honeycrisp, unpeeled.)

1 1/2 tablespoons honey

2 pinches cinnamon

Directions:

Core apple and place in a small bowl.

Fill  hole with honey and cinnamon. Wrap the bowl tightly with good quality plastic wrap. It must be air tight or this won’t work. Microwave on high for 5 min.

The plastic wrap will make a big bubble as it cooks.  This is normal. It works like a steamer to cook the apple quickly.

When taken from the microwave (WITH POT HOLDERS) the plastic wrap will shrink wrap the apple.  Now keeping those pot holder on, carefully pull off the plastic wrap with a fork. Be careful to avoid hot steam.

Let cool (if you can…) and enjoy!

Honey Roasted Turkey

This is an English recipe that I love! The honey butter glaze gives the skin a crispy, tasty flavor. Be sure to use a smaller turkey for best results.

Ingredients

1 (10 pound) whole turkey – thawed, neck and giblets removed

1 lemon, cut in half

salt and black pepper to taste

1 small apple, peeled

1 small onion, peeled

1 small potato, peeled

3 ounces butter

6 ounces honey

1 cup chicken stock

Directions

Pat the turkey dry inside and out with paper towels. Rub the cut lemon halves lightly over the skin of the turkey. Season inside and out with salt and pepper to taste. Place the lemon halves, apple, onion, and potato into the cavity of the turkey. Place into a close-fitting roasting pan.

Stir the butter and honey together in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until the butter has melted and the mixture is evenly blended. Spoon the honey mixture over the turkey, coating the entire outer surface. Allow to stand 30 minutes, reapplying the honey mixture several times.

Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

Bake the turkey in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, basting two or three times with the drippings and honey mixture. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C), and cook 30 minutes more, basting frequently. Use a cup of chicken stock to keep the pan juices from drying out.

Cover the turkey with aluminum foil, and continue roasting until no longer pink at the bone and the juices run clear, 1 1/2 to 2 hours longer. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, near the bone should read 180 degrees F (82 degrees C). Remove the foil during the last 15 minutes and baste one last time.

Remove the turkey from the oven, cover with a doubled sheet of aluminum foil, and allow to rest in a warm area 15 minutes before slicing.

Honey Caramel Apple Cake

This cake tastes like an old-fashioned caramel apple. Delicious!!

Ingredients

Cake:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/3 cups honey, plus 1/4 cup for the apples
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground apple or pumpkin pie spice blend
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 4 large golden delicious apples, peeled, cored, and roughly chopped (about 5 cups)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • Finely grated zest from 1 orange
  • Juice of 1 orange (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Caramel Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup pecans, toasted and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt
  • Special equipment: 10 cup bundt pan

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter and flour the bundt pan.

Whisk the flour, 1 teaspoon of the pie spice, the baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl.

Toss the apples with 1/4 cup of the honey and 1/2 teaspoon pie spice and set aside.

Whisk the eggs, remaining honey and oil together in another bowl. Whisk in the sour cream, orange zest and juice, and vanilla. Pour the egg mixture into the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon just until combined but still a bit lumpy.

Using a slotted spoon, scatter about 1/2 cup of the apples in the bottom of the bundt pan. Put about 1/3 of the batter on top. Repeat, alternating with the remaining apples and batter, ending with the batter.

Bake the cake until it pulls away for the sides of the pan and a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Cool 10 minutes and invert onto a rack placed over a baking sheet. Cool. (The cake can be prepared to this point a day ahead.)

To make the caramel: Stir the sugar, honey, and 2 tablespoons water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook, swirling the pan but not stirring, until the sugar is dark amber-colored caramel, about 10 minutes. Pull pan from the heat and carefully pour in the cream (take care, it will splatter). Stir in the pecans, vanilla, and salt. Cool until caramel becomes thick and syrupy, then evenly pour over the cake and cool until set.

Honey Baked Apples

Apples and honey are perfect for this time of year, especially when they are baked together!  This is a perfect dessert or sweet snack for when the weather turns cooler…

Ingredients

3 1/2 cups apple cider
1/2 cup packed brown sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
1/3 cup honey (preferably 100 percent raw honey from a small producer)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
Pinch freshly ground pepper
6 unpeeled Braeburn, Golden Delicious, Gala, Honeycrisp or McIntosh apples, halved and cored with a melon baller
1/2 cup golden raisins or currants
1/2 cup dried apricots, julienned
6 whole cloves
2 or 3 star anise pods
2 to 3 cinnamon sticks, optional
1/4 cup apple brandy

Directions

In a medium saucepan, combine the apple cider, brown sugar, honey, cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for about 25 minutes or so, or until mixture is syrupy and reduced to about 2 2/3 cups.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Put the apples, cut side down, in a 12-inch baking pan. Distribute the raisins, apricots, cloves, star anise, and cinnamon sticks, if using, over the apples. Pour the hot syrup over the apples. Cover the pan with aluminum foil.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until the apples are almost tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife. Remove from the oven, turn the apples over, add the brandy. Baste apples with the apple cider and apple brandy many times, allowing the apples to absorb the flavor. Let the pan stand, covered, for 15 minutes.

Serve baked apples with the liquid and dried fruits spooned over them in a bowl. Served with whipped heavy cream or ice cream and a sprinkle of powdered sugar.