How to grow apples and make Apple Yam Soup
Andrea Bellamy |

Every month, Heavy Petal collaborates with Willowtree — a website for those with food sensitivities who want to find their culinary bliss — to bring you a celebration of an in-season edible. I’ll tell you how to grow it; they’ll tell you how to eat it. Yay!

Every fall I look forward to seeing the first of the local apples appear at the market. Though they’re available year-round, there’s nothing quite like the first crisp, sweet-tart bite of a newly picked BC apple. This month’s recipe celebrates the notorious fruit.

Apple & Yam Soup

Makes: 8 servings
Cook Time: 1 hour (prep time only 15 minutes!)

1/4 cup butter or coconut oil
2 large yams, peeled and diced
3 large carrots, peeled and diced
2 in-season apples, peeled, cored, and diced
1 large white onion, chopped
2 inch piece ginger, grated
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp medium curry powder
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 cup red lentils (uncooked)
4 cups organic vegetable stock
1 cup water

In a large pot over medium heat, melt butter/coconut oil. Once melted add yams, carrots, apples and onion. Cook together for about 10 minutes until onions are translucent. Add ginger, salt & pepper, and spices. Stir mixture. Add dry, uncooked lentils and vegetable stock. Turn heat to high and let mixture come to a boil. Once boiled, turn heat to low and let simmer for 30 minutes, until vegetables are soft.

Remove pot from heat. Using a hand blender, puree the mixture until smooth (you can use a blender or food processor if you don’t have a hand blender), and if too thick, adding water to reach desired consistency. Once smooth, let the soup simmer for 10 minutes on low heat. Serve hot and enjoy!

How to grow apples

Start by choosing a variety that’s suitable for your area and needs (ask your local nursery for help). Some popular apple cultivars require a long stretch of cold weather to set fruit. Unless you have room for two trees (and since dwarf apple trees can be quite small, that’s certainly possible for many of us) choose a self-pollinating variety, or one that has multiple varieties grafted onto one root.

Apples prefer full sun and moist but free-draining soil. With the wide use of dwarfing rootstocks, many apples are small enough to be grown in containers, making them great options for small-space growing. In spring, mulch with compost and thin baby fruits as they develop. (Thinning reduces the risk of limbs breaking from the weight of the fruit. It also produces larger apples.) Harvest ripe apples in late summer or fall.

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