Fall is apple season
Autumn has arrived.
Days are shorter, nights are cooler, leaves are beginning to turn crimson, auburn and red ever so slowly. Labor Day has come and gone. Kids are back in school. Summer vacation is now a memory.
Rosh Hashanah, the head of the Jewish lunar year, is behind us with its sweet treats — donuts, honey, apples. We look forward to the darkness and sweet candy of Halloween.
Fall is apple season. Rulfs Orchard in Peru, Banker Orchards west of Plattsburgh, and Prairie’s Orchard in Malone are open for business. Many area supermarkets sell local apples and cider.
Apples were brought to North America by European colonists. Today, more than half the world’s apples come from China, where apple pickers earn less than a dollar an hour.
New York grows more apples than any other U.S. state besides Washington — so eat up those local apples! Or better yet, visit an orchard and pick your own!
We have all heard the saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” A medium apple contains about 80 calories and is an excellent source of fiber, vitamins C and K, as well as a diuretic and an astringent. Boron, an essential trace element found in apples, has been shown to strengthen bones. And fructose, the sugar in apples, breaks down slowly, helping to stabilize blood sugar levels. Apples contain many antioxidants — like quercetin and flavonoids — that bolster the immune system and help control levels of LDL cholesterol. The many phytochemicals in apples help prevent cancer and heart disease and protect brain cells.
When you’ve had your fill of apples, you can use them in so many ways. Who doesn’t love apple pie, apple crisp, apple betty, apple pan dowdy or apple cobbler? You can also bake them, stir them into pancakes, muffins and quick-breads, add them to salads and soups, and other dishes. Try stirring some into mac ‘n’ cheese. And if you still have some left — make applesauce!
There are more than 7,000 varieties of apples, so find one you enjoy. Some are tart, others are sweet; some are crisp and juicy, others are pulpy and starchy. Some of the most popular varieties are Cortland, Rome, MacIntosh, Honeycrisp, Fuji and Zestar (a new one to me this year). Of course, there are many more. What’s your favorite?
1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter
3/4 cup rolled oats (prefer old-fashioned)
1/3 cup flour (I prefer half whole-wheat and half unbleached but any flour (including GF) will do
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Use a little of the butter to butter the bottom of 9” x 9″ baking dish. Or use cooking spray.
In bowl, combine oats, flour, brown sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Peel, quarter, core and slice apples into the prepared dish.
Melt the rest of the butter and stir into the reserved oat mixture. Use a large spoon to spoon topping over the apples.
Place in oven and bake until topping is brown, about 30 – 40 minutes.
Best served warm, topped with vanilla ice cream or real whipped cream.
Leek and Apple Salad
1 large leek
1 tablespoon salt
1 large apple (or 2 small)
2 tablespoons plain yogurt
Optional: Toasted walnuts, for garnish
Cut leeks in half lengthwise, wash to remove sand, then slice across. Place sliced leeks in colander, and mix with the salt. Leave for 15-30 minutes, then rinse the salt and transfer to serving bowl.
Core and chop one unpeeled apple, and add. Stir in the yogurt and sour cream. Top with walnuts, if using.
Author of the award-winning cookbook Garden Gourmet: Fresh & Fabulous Meals from your Garden, CSA or Farmers’ Market, Yvona Fast lives in Lake Clear and has two passions: writing and cooking. She can be found at www.yvonafast.com and reached at yvonawrite @yvonawrites.