Monday, October 1, 2007

The Story of Johnny Appleseed

Fall is a great time to read the story of Johnny Appleseed to your children and try some new apple recipes!

John Chapman, a small man with amazing endurance, is known as "Johnny Appleseed." He was really an American pioneer, a kind and gentle hero, and a uniquely American legend.

Johnny Appleseed carried a bag of apple seeds, a spade, his cooking pot on his head, a coffee sack for a coat and a Bible as he traveled barefoot westward, planting apple seeds as he went on his sacred quest.

Folks still remember little Johnny and sing his song: "The Lord is good to me...And so I thank the Lord...For giving me the things I need...The sun and rain and the appleseed...The Lord is good to me."

God was good to him. He met many pioneers, read Bible stories to children and adults and gave apple seeds to the settlers. He showed people how to make apples into juice, pies, sauce, butter and Brown Betty. Johnny spread the Word of God as well as apples. He believed that God wanted him to go around and read his Bible to people and plant apple trees for them.

Johnny Appleseed's gentleness and courage were legendary even in his own time. He was a peaceful man who walked alone in the wilderness, without gun, knife or any weapons. He chopped down no trees and killed no animals. Watching apples grow inspired Johnny to love nature and all the animals in it. Folks say he could talk to the animals.

He was friends with the Indians too and traveled with a wolf companion. He slept outdoors, walked barefoot, ate berries and such, and made drinking water in winter by melting snow with his feet. The Indians found him nearly dead in the snow one time and nursed him back to health.

Johnny Appleseed left home and headed west to the Allegheny Mountains and cleared land to plant apple orchards. Johnny kept moving westward. In each community he planted apple orchards. In his travels, Johnny would stop at a farm and work for only his meals and a place to sleep, and he always left some apple seeds for the farmer to plant.

Then one day while he was resting under an apple tree, he heard a voice, "You have one long last trip to take." Johnny protested that he couldn't go, he had crops to harvest, seeds to sow but the voice continued, " Your work here on earth is done; but, Johnny, up in heaven we need you. You may think we have all we please -- but we don't, we're kinda short on apple trees, we need you here."

Fun Ways to Eat Apples

Recipes from

Applesauce Cake in a Cone - A Magical Microwave Creation
Prepare a one or two layer spice cake mix according to package directions, except substitute applesauce for the water. Pour batter into flat-bottomed ice cream cones, no more than half full. Arrange 6 cones in a circle in microwave and cook on full power 2 1/2 to 2 3/4 minutes. Continue baking 6 cones at a time until all batter is used. When ready to serve, top each cupcake with a big scoop of ice cream.

Quick Apple Crisp
6-8 apples, peeled and sliced

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1 ( 5 oz.) stick pastry mix

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1 c. brown sugar

Place apples in greased, 8 inch square or round pan. Combine pastry mix (dry) with sugar and spices. Sprinkle over apples. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes. Serve with ice cream or whipped topping.

Or try these ideas for a change of pace…

  • Substitute apple slices for jelly on peanut butter sandwiches.
  • Freeze applesauce, then whip it in a blender for an apple "slushie".