Living in Michigan, where apple production ranks number three in the States, the harvest of this fruit peaks in late September through early October. There are so many apples to choose from that I would have a great time every week at the farm markets buying mixed bags. I’ve long since given up storing a bushel of apples through the winter, buying instead a few specialty varieties each week.
Apples are wonderful to teach the youngest of children about our faith. When you cut an apple in half along the equatorial plane, the cross section in the core looks like a star; the five-pointed Epiphany Star. The five seeds inside the five-pointed star stand for the five wounds of Christ.
Children love stars, and while stars are not traditionally associated with the Lenten season, there is a weekly program for children, six and up, called The Seven Stars of Lent. This worship resource helps to prepare children’s’ hearts to celebrate the Resurrection of Christ.
A second apple story used to teach about the Trinity is cut an apple in half from top to bottom and note the three parts: skin, meat and seeds. The outer skin represents the Father who encompasses all, Jesus is the meat of the fruit that feeds us, and the seeds are the Holy Spirit that when planted, will bring new life. An apple wouldn’t be an apple if any one of these elements was missing; so, too, with the Trinity.
Now, since you’re cutting up all those apples for educational purposes, how about a recipe! This is a savory and sweet soup more for the adult pallet; try cutting the spices by half for kids.
Parsnip and Apple Soup
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped sweet onion (Vidalia is best)
2 1/2 cups (about a pound) peeled and chopped Pink Lady apples (or any slightly tart apple is fine—Granny Smiths are too sour!)
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 1/2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger or 1/2 teaspoon dry
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
3 1/2 cups (about 1 1/2 pounds) chopped peeled parsnip
1 clove garlic finely chopped
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup apple cider (don’t use apple juice)
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Sour cream dollops when serving
In a stock pot, sauté onions in oil until tender. Add apples, curry, ginger, and cardamom. Simmer for about a minute to dissolve spices, stirring constantly. Add broth, parsnips, garlic, and cider. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes or until parsnips are tender. CAREFULLY blend soup until smooth using a blender (or use an immersion blender). Serve with sour cream.
A side note here, I like to use oven roasted parsnips. They tend to be sweeter and lend a fuller flavor to the soup. Of course, your stove-top cooking time will be reduced.
This column, in totality, originally ran the autumn of 2013. I thought the soup sounded perfect for Lent!
(Image courtesy morguefile.com)