A few weeks ago, after returning from Greece to Chicago, one of the first things I ate was an apple. The crunch, the aroma and the sweet flavor immediately transported me into autumn.

The mounds of red and green apples in the supermarkets used to cause a slump in my shoulders and instant mourning for all the fresh, summer fruits that had disappeared for so many months to come.  I turned a cold shoulder to the firm fruits, cursing them for being one of the only local, fresh options replacing their succulent predecessors.

Growing up in Michigan, apples were prevalent.  I always loved our trips to Robinettes apple orchard for a hot cider, donut and maybe a hay ride.  But I seem to remember that Red Delicious apples dominated every scene with a few MacIntoshes for variety.  Galas were only black tie events my parents attended and Fuji was a far off place unknown to my untraveled youth. Though it is hard to admit (as I am a patriotic Midwestern girl), I never even liked apple pie.

This year, something changed. The first apple I ate in early September was a large, juicy Honey Crisp.  For some unknown reason, my senses perked up and took note of the unusual texture and audible crackle as my teeth sank through each section. Mini Whipped also pushed apples to the forefront of her food desires and began requesting “apple snack please” more than once a day.

Something inside was unleashed and like a new love affair that can’t be satiated, we bought mounds of apples, started eating them daily, found library books about apples and have now planned a family voyage to the Michigan orchard.  As if my kind neighbor could sense my new found desire, she dropped off a homemade apple pie the other night for no special reason.  And guess what?  I loved it.

For snacks, we have been pairing apples with white cheddar and nuts, topping slices with peanut butter and raisins and dipping them in yogurt.  We are hungry for more… what are your favorite apple snacks?