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Fun Facts with Apples: Apple Cinnamon Ribs & Collard Greens

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Last week we identified October as National Apple Month. Apples are spectacular for pies, cakes, dumplings, custards and puddings, but did you know apples are equally as good in savory dishes?

Growing up my mama made the most amazing meatballs. She would spend all day in the kitchen crafting her prized entree. They were always so very tender, and never dry. Little did I know that her secret ingredient was applesauce! Yep. Applesauce.

With so many varieties of apples, there were bound to be some in the bunch that would lend their characteristics to a warm, hearty savory dish. Here are some fun facts on our friend, the apple.

  1. Did you know that a typical grocery store carries at least five varieties of apples?
  2. More than 2,500 varieties of apples are grown in the United States, but only the crabapple is native to North America.
  3. Apples contain no fat, sodium or cholesterol and are a good source of fiber.
  4. Apple trees take four to five years to produce their first fruit.
  5. Apples ripen six to 10 times faster at room temperature than if they are refrigerated.
  6. A peck of apples weighs 10.5 pounds. A bushel of apples weighs about 42 pounds.
  7. It takes about 36 apples to create one gallon of apple cider.

Who knew apples could be so much fun? If you think that was fun, try this!

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Apple Cinnamon Oven Ribs & Country Collard Greens

Pork Ribs:

  • 1 rack pork ribs
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1 small container applesauce
  • 1 tbsp. Cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. Smoked Paprika

Collards:

  • 2 bunches collards
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1 ham-hock
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Salt & pepper to taste

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Directions

Ribs:

Remove thin membrane from underside of ribs. Salt & Pepper ribs generously. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Then wrap tightly in aluminum foil. Place in the oven at 275 degrees for 8 hours. Remove from oven and allow to rest 15 minutes. Place remainder of ingredients in a pot on the stove and bring to a soft boil over medium heat. Remove from heat.

Unwrap ribs and place on a roasting pan. Slather with sauce. Broil for 5 minutes and slather with additional sauce. Return to broil until ribs are cherry red. You can also finish these off on a grill for about 10 minutes for best flavor.

Collards:

Remove stems from greens. Place greens in a pot with chicken stock, vinegar, sugar and ham-hock. Do not add salt until the last five minutes of cooking. Adding salt at the beginning of cooking vegetables will make them tough. Cook on the stovetop for about two hours on medium low heat or until you reach desired consistency and texture. Add more salt for more saltier flavor, more sugar for a sweeter flavor.

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