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December 4, 2013

Michigan apple contest promotes unique amateur statewide recipes

By Nick Mordowanec
C & G Staff Writer

The Michigan Apple Committee (MAC) is scouring the state for new and refreshing apple recipes in an ongoing contest.

The contest, which began on Nov. 15 and ends Jan. 31, 2014, seeks amateur cooks who can create their own concoctions associated with Michigan apples.

The MAC has conducted the contest for about five years, offering a fun opportunity for not-so-seasoned veterans to come up with a new way to utilize an already enjoyed product.

“Michigan apples are a versatile food — there are so many ways they can be used,” said Diane Smith, MAC executive director. “We are hoping Michigan’s tasty apples will inspire amateur cooks to get creative and develop something unique and delicious.”

The MAC uses an honor system in which applicants are not supposed to be chefs or have written cookbooks or the like, intending for people to be honest non-professionals.

And even though the contest has prizes — those with the three highest-scoring recipes each receive a 250-watt KitchenAid stand mixer, an approximate retail value of $250 — it is also a type of learning experience.

“One of our goals is to show people how versatile apples are,” said Gretchen Mensing, the communications and marketing manager for the MAC. “When people think of apples, they think of a dessert like a pie or a crisp, but it can be used for salads or drinks. Events and recipe contests show that people can really get creative with this.”

Entries will be judged based on taste, originality, preparation and apple significance. Judges will determine whether the recipe is innovative yet not convoluted, all the while being something that others would want to try.

Members of the committee use the aforementioned protocol to “rate” different submitted recipes, becoming quickly acclimated with whether the recipe sounds good and whether it can actually be done in a great-tasting way. Once recipes are dwindled down to a small amount, chefs and others in the committee test the recipe out to see if it tastes as good as it sounds.

“We also feature winning recipes on the website, so it’s kind of a pleat of pride,” Mensing said.

Jennifer Holton, of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that the state is looking at 30 million bushels of apples this season, which is significantly more than usual.

The MAC, which has been around since 1939, conducts research and educates the public for the benefit of the consumers and the growers. In this case, average people are educating the committee on how to utilize one of Michigan’s fruitful assets.

The contest is for Michigan residents 18 years or older and not professional cooks. Recipes must use Michigan apples, and each entry should be typed on an 8.5-by-11 inch paper. Each entry must include the contestant’s name, address, phone number, email and a Michigan apple variety recommendation — Granny Smith apples are not allowed. A full list of Michigan Apple varieties can be found at www.MichiganApples.com/varieties.

Entries may be mailed to the Michigan Apple Committee at 13750 S. Sedona Parkway, Suite 3, Lansing, MI 48906, or emailed to Staff@MichiganApples.com. Mailed entries must be received before Jan. 31, 2014, and email entries must arrive before 5 p.m. Eastern time on Jan. 31, 2014.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Nick Mordowanec at nmordowanec@candgnews.com or at (586)279-1118.