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Archive for October, 2011

Mount Kearsarge from Gould Hill Farm in Contoocook, New Hampshire

Mount Kearsarge looms in the distance at Gould Hill Farm in Contoocook, New Hampshire

THE BIG WINNER at Mount Wachusett AppleFest’s second annual apple pie contest October 15? The Cortland. It was the only variety used by both winners: Julie Piragis of Athol, Massachusetts, in the “apple only” category, and Elinor Ives of Sturbridge, Massachusetts, whose pie was chosen as the best “apple and other” pie.

Both winning pies had outstanding crusts, were nicely spiced, and beautifully presented. Their selection affirms what chefs have known for more than a century: Cortlands make an outstanding pie. While experimenting with several apple varieties can result in unusual textures and flavors, Julie and Elinor demonstrated that a single variety of high-quality apples can carry a pie as well.

The key is to start off with the best fruit. A week after the AppleFest contest, we sampled four apple pies also made with single varieties, including Cortland. They were so good that it was hard to choose among them. But in our informal taste test, Cortlands finished last, behind McIntosh, Mutsu, and Empire (even by Gerri Griswold, who made them)!

Apples can vary from place to place, and season to season. Always begin with firm, fresh apples when making a pie, and taste them first to ensure that they are at peak flavor. Applesauce is forgiving of a less-than-perfect apple. But if you are going to the trouble of making a pie, choose the best textured, and most flavorful, apples you can find.

Cortland

Cortland

CORTLANDS, OBVIOUSLY, MAKE AN EXCELLENT CHOICE. If you think only in red or green when it comes to apples, consult a Cortland to see a stunning example of something in between. A large, beautiful apple, it comes in shades of deep red with green and yellow streaks. Its sweet-tart flavor is similar to its McIntosh parent, but a little less tangy. It is less juicy than a Mac as well, and it retains its shape better when cooked.

In addition to being a great baking apple, Cortlands are excellent for fresh eating. They are famous in salads, too, as their white flesh browns slowly after slicing.

While Cortlands owe much of their great flavor to the McIntosh, their firm texture, striping, and size are attributes of their other parent, Ben Davis. The skin of Cortlands can become waxy over time, another feature of Ben Davis. Cortlands were developed at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, New York, in 1898.

Here is the winning apple pie entry from Julie Piragis:

Julie Piragis's winning apple pie

Julie Piragis’ winning apple pie

Apple Pie

Crust

2 c flour

2/3 c butter-flavored Crisco

1 t salt

7 T ice-cold water

Filling

Enough Cortland apples to fill 9-inch pie plate (heaping)

¾ c sugar

1 t salt

1 t cinnamon

dash of nutmeg

dash of salt

2 T flour

Put 2 T butter on top of apples and add top crust.

Mix one egg with 2 T Half n’ Half coffee creamer and brush finished pie. Sprinkle with sugar and bake at 350° for one hour or until crust is golden brown and apples are tender.

* * *

The winning recipe in the “Apple and Other” category, from Elinor Ives:

Harvest Apple Pie with Oat-Nut Crust and Cinnamon Pecan Crumble

Elinor Ives's winning apple pie

Elinor Ives’s winning apple pie

Filling

1/2 c butter

3 T flour

1/4 c water

1/2 c sugar

1/2 c packed brown sugar

1/4 t cinnamon

8 Cortland apples, peeled, cored, and sliced

Crust

3/4 c flour

1/2 c quick-cooking oats

1/4 c chopped pecans

1/4 c chopped walnuts

1 T dark brown sugar

1 T white sugar

1/2 c butter, melted 

Cinnamon Pecan Crumble

3 T granulated sugar

1 c plus 2 T flour

1/4 c plus 2 T packed dark brown sugar

1/4 t cinnamon

1/2 c butter, chilled and cut into chunks

1 c pecans

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. To make filling, melt butter in an electric skillet or a saucepan large enough to hold all the apples. Stir in flour to form a paste. Add water, white sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon, and bring to a boil. Reduce temperature, add apples, and let simmer until apples are cooked.
  3. To make the crust, mix all crust ingredients together in a bowl and press into a pie plate.
  4. Bake crust for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.
  5. To make Cinnamon Pecan Crumble, combine all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor until crumbly, then bake on a cookie sheet at 400°F for 10 minutes.
  6. When crust is cool, spoon filling into crust and top with Cinnamon Pecan Crumble.
  7. * * *

     To learn more about apples, visit our New England Apples website.

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Red Spy apples

The lone Red Spy apple tree at Hackett's Orchard in South Hero, Vermont, is ripe for picking.

PEARS PLAY A SUPPORTING ROLE to apples in New England. You never hear of a pear orchard with a few apple trees; it’s always the other way around. Several apple varieties are described as having a pear-like flavor, notably Gala and Hudson’s Golden Gem. The mellow taste of pears works well with apples in many desserts as well.

It’s one of the many virtues of apples that they combine so well with other foods. When you consider the wide range of apple flavors from sweet to tart, it means that an imaginative cook can achieve a wide range of tastes.

We recently added an Asian pear and a handful of cranberries to Grandmother’s Apple Crisp, after starting with six different varieties of apples. The result was colorful and delicious, with plenty of sweet and tart highlights.

The apples span a century of horticultural development and, while none of them are native to our region, today they are widely cultivated in New England’s orchards: Macoun (Canada, early 1900s), Hudson’s Golden Gem (Oregon, 1931), Gala (New Zealand, 1934), Empire (New York, 1945), Honeycrisp (Minnesota, 1960s), and Shamrock (Canada, 1992).

The Gala and Hudson’s Golden Gem gave the apple crisp its sweetness, and they augmented the pear flavor; the Shamrock added tartness. Hudson’s Golden Gem and Honeycrisp supplied ample juice, and the Empire and Macoun imparted spice and aroma to the crisp.

We have previously written this fall about Empire, Gala, and Macoun, so the emphasis here will be on the three remaining apples:

Honeycrisp

Honeycrisp

For good reason, Honeycrisp has become a prized apple in New England in just 20 years since it was first released commercially. It is an exceptionally juicy and crunchy apple, with just enough tartness to give it a distinctive bite. It has become as sought-after for fresh eating as Macoun, is excellent in salads, and is a good addition to many baked desserts.

It was originally believed that Honeycrisp was a cross of Macoun and Honeygold. But DNA testing has since shown that the records of the University of Minnesota’s Horticultural Research Center, where the original seedling was planted in 1962, were inaccurate. Honeycrisp’s parentage is unknown. That has not stopped Honeycrisp’s meteoric rise since it was introduced commercially in 1991.

Hudson's Golden Gem

Hudson's Golden Gem

Hudson’s Golden Gem was introduced by the Hudson Wholesale Nurseries of Tangent, Oregon, in 1931. It is a very juicy apple, and some consider its sweet, nutty, pear-like flavor superior to Gala. Despite these desirable traits, Hudson’s Golden Gem popularity has languished, perhaps as a result of the heavy russeting on its greenish skin. You may prefer a smooth, shiny skin on your apple, but if you enjoy a sweet apple with lots of juice, Hudson’s will not disappoint.

Shamrock apple

Shamrock apple

Shamrock is a new apple, originating in British Columbia in 1992. To date, it has not been as well-received as Honeycrisp. But we predict a bright future for this green apple with a pink blush, as an East Coast alternative to Granny Smith, which requires too long a growing season to be widely cultivated in New England.

The main reason for our optimism is Shamrock’s highly unusual flavor: tart and crisp, with strong hints of butterscotch. Its flesh is a creamy light green. Good for both fresh eating and cooking, Shamrock is an outstanding choice to include with other varieties in pies, crisp, and sauce.

Shamrock is the result of a Spur McIntosh crossed with a Spur Golden Delicious. (Spurs are slow-growing leafy shoots. On spur-type apples, the fruit spurs and leaf buds are more closely spaced than on non-spur strains. The tree grows about 25 percent smaller than the standard variety.)

Bartletts, Boscs, and Asian pears are the varieties most commonly grown in New England. Any of them will work well in this recipe.

Clockwise, from front left: Asian pear, Empire, Hudson's Golden Gem, Macoun, Honeycrisp, and Shamrock, with Gala in the middle.

Apple Pear Cranberry Crisp

Use a mix of 6 New England apples, like Hudson’s Golden Gem, Honeycrisp, and Shamrock

1 pear, like Asian, Bosc, or Bartlett

1/4 c whole cranberries

1 T lemon juice

1 t cinnamon

1/4 t nutmeg

1/2 t salt

Topping:


3/4 c whole wheat flour

1/4 c old-fashioned oats

1/4 c brown sugar or 1/3 c maple syrup

5 T butter

Preheat oven to 350˚. Core and slice apples and pear into a buttered 8” square pan. Sprinkle cranberries, lemon juice, and spices over the apples.
Combine topping ingredients to cover the apples.
Bake for 45 minutes or until apples have softened.

* * *

THIS WEEKEND PRESENTS SEVERAL OPPORTUNITIES to sample New England apples around the region, old and new. Here are three; check your local orchards for other tastings.

October 22-23: Mount Wachusett in Princeton, Massachusetts, hosts its 28th annual AppleFest, where a number of varieties provided by Red Apple Farm in Phillipston will be available for sampling.

October 22-23: An heirloom apple tasting event will be held at Alyson’s Orchard in Walpole, New Hampshire, from noon to 3 p.m. They have a good supply of Hudson’s Golden Gem, among many others.

October 22: Russell Powell and Bar Weeks of the New England Apple Association will make a presentation about the region’s apples at the White Memorial Conservation Center in Litchfield, Connecticut, at 2 p.m. Refreshments will include apple pie and cider.

*            *            *

ANOTHER WAY TO LEARN ABOUT APPLE VARIETIES grown in New England is to view our three-part series describing them, featuring Chuck and Diane Souther of Apple Hill Farm in Concord, New Hampshire.

One of the videos is below; the others can be accessed at New England apple varieties. In addition to the videos, you will find photographs and descriptions of more than 100 varieties grown in the region.

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Some of the entries waiting to be sampled at Applefest's second annual apple pie contest

THIRTY-FIVE APPLE PIES in less than two hours. I paced myself this year, taking two bites from each — just enough to feel confident to rate the pies on appearance, presentation, crust, texture, and flavor. My stomach was full at the end and I felt mildly uncomfortable for the next few hours, but it was worth it. I tasted some exceptional apple pie.

The pies were entered at the second annual Apple Pie Contest at AppleFest, a two-weekend festival featuring food, crafts, music, and other entertainment (and of course lots of apples), at Mount Wachusett in the north-central Massachusetts town of Princeton. The 2011 fair, which continues today from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and again next weekend, is the 28th annual.

There were five other judges besides me: Rose Arruda and Bonita Oehlke from the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, Jon Clements, a tree fruit specialist from University of Massachusetts Extension, food editor Amy Traverso of Yankee Magazine, and a local business owner named Bernie (whose last name escapes me).

It rained for the first 20 minutes or so of the judging, and the day was breezy and cool, in the mid-50s. A crowd gathered anyway, many of them the (mostly) women and men who had entered pies, and their families. Some stood beneath an adjacent tent that housed the afternoon’s main entertainment, a polka band that played loudly and exuberantly in the background the whole time we sampled pies.

Event organizer Audra Lissell and emcee Greg Byrne of local radio station WSRS-FM introduced and served the pies, walking each one in front of the judges so we could take in its appearance.

Some of the pies were true works of art, decorated with sculpted pastry apples, maple leaves, and flowers, arranged in baskets or amid a tableau of evergreens and dark red apples taken from a tree in the cook’s back yard, or with beautifully fluted edges sealing perfect-looking crusts.

There were two main categories: “apple only,” and “apple and other,” for pies that added to the apples ingredients like cranberries, raisins, raspberries, pears, and pecans (one pie even had meat in it).

There were crumb tops and traditional pie pastries, and some that were almost the consistency of shortbread. Some pies had stunning woven or lattice-work tops. There were crusts decorated with faces and apple-skin coils and symmetrical vents. Some were dark or light, shiny with egg wash or sprinkled with sugar.

There was even an entrant that had a layer of apples between a cake-like base and crumb top served side-less, like a tart. Many were simply classic, unadorned traditional-looking apple pies.

We did not know the varieties of apples we were eating. Some pies were piled high (Cortland? Mutsu? Northern Spy?), while in others the filling had settled beneath a cavernous top crust (Macoun, McIntosh?). Some were sweeter, some more tart, but these were the only clues to the apples’ identity. Some pies clearly used a single variety, others a mix.

The textures were widely variable, partly a result of the varieties used, but also a determination by the bakers to have their apples firm, tender, or soft. Spicing, too, was as varied as you might expect coming from 35 cooks. This proved to be the most challenging aspect of pie-making.

SPICING AN APPLE PIE IS A DELICATE BUSINESS. You need to have just the right blend to accent the apple flavor, rather than overpower it. Most of the traditional choices to spice an apple pie — cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, allspice — have intense flavors that can easily overwhelm. They must be applied lightly, and mixing them properly takes a special skill. The spice that left the strongest taste from Saturday’s contest was nutmeg, which lingered in my mouth for an hour or more after the event.

Despite the challenge of making a consistently flaky crust, there were some excellent entries, and only a few that were either too hard, thick, or gummy. Several tasted as if they contained some whole wheat flour, giving them a boldness and complexity to match the apple filling.

I LIKE A PIE THAT RISKS ALMOST EVERYTHING on the strength of its apple flavor, contained by a flaky, buttery crust that cuts easily with a fork and contrasts in texture and sweetness. A good crumb topping lends a pleasing finish to tasting, especially if it is garnished with nuts, chopped fine or whole.

First and foremost, I want to taste apple, so too much sugar and spice can eliminate a pie from exalted status (despite the apple’s natural sugars, most cooks err on the side of sweetness). Other fruits, though, can add interest to the pie, giving it a more complex flavor, texture, and color.

Tasting an apple pie meeting these various criteria — and there were several yesterday — is sublime.

Last year I ate too much from the early entries, and by around the tenth pie I was so full that each new one became a sensory blur. But this year, despite the fact that there were twice as many pies to taste as a year ago, my two-bite system worked, and I was able to give each entry the attention it deserved.

It was truly impressive. There was not a bad pie in the bunch, and there were some exceptional ones that made me wish I could take them home with me. It was moving to look out at the expectant faces as the pie chefs and their loved ones nervously watched us sample their wares, and an awesome responsibility.

Pie preference is subjective, and despite the consistent rating categories, our scores varied widely. Still, there were clear winners in both categories and some close runners-up when we tabulated the judging.

We’ll be featuring the winning recipes later this week.

L to R: judges Bonita Oehlke, Jon Clements, Bernie, Russell Powell, Rose Arruda, Amy Traverso

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Hudson's Golden Gem

Sample Hudson’s Golden Gem and other heirloom apples at Alyson’s Orchard in Walpole, New Hampshire, October 22 and 23.

A CENTURY AGO they were the three most popular varieties in the Northeast. Today, Baldwin, Rhode Island Greening, and Northern Spy apples are hard-to-find heirlooms. But a number of orchards still feature them, and they are definitely worth seeking out. Visit Find An Apple on our New England Apples website to find where they are grown.

These three apples gradually decreased in popularity in the early 1900s. They presented certain challenges for growers. Northern Spies take longer than most varieties to begin bearing fruit. Rhode Island Greenings typically bear heavily only every other year. Baldwins went through a devastating freeze during the winter of 1934 that wiped out more than half their numbers. Meanwhile, varieties like McIntosh and Cortland rose in popularity.

Yet today Baldwin, Rhode Island Greening, and Northern Spy are enjoying a modest comeback, for good reason. All three apples are excellent for cooking, especially in pies. They share a New England heritage — Baldwin in Massachusetts, Northern Spy in Connecticut, the Rhode Island Greening, obviously, in Rhode Island. They each have a distinctive, sweet-tart taste that makes them excellent for fresh eating as well as cooking.

Northern Spy apple

Northern Spy apple

MANY A MOTHER, great aunt, or grandmother considers Northern Spy the best pie apple. It’s big, for one thing — a not insignificant virtue when trying to satiate a hungry household. Northern Spies also hold their shape while cooking, a valuable quality for cooks who like to pile their pies high.

Yet size and stability are not the main reasons generations of cooks have favored the Northern Spy. After all, Mom’s apple pie lingers on in memory due to its exquisite flavor, not its bulk.

In his classic work, The Apples of New York (1905), S. A. Beach is positively effusive about Northern Spy. Comparing it with Baldwin and Rhode Island Greening, Beach writes that Northern Spy “is superior to either of these in flavor and quality.

“The flesh is very juicy, crisp, tender, and most excellent for either dessert or culinary uses.”

Northern Spy, discovered in Salisbury, Connecticut, around 1800, was introduced commercially by H. Chapin of East Bloomfield, New York, 40 years later. Its parentage is unknown.

Baldwin apple

Baldwin apple

BALDWIN APPLES are even older than Northern Spy, originating in Wilmington, Massachusetts, in 1740. While its parents, too, are a mystery, Baldwin has a well-documented history. Its cultivation passed from Ball to Butters to Baldwin: John Ball, owner of the original orchard; a Mr. Butters, who later purchased the land; and finally Colonel Baldwin, who gave the apple its permanent name.

Baldwins were first named Woodpeckers because the tree was popular with those birds, and then Butters, after the orchard’s one-time owner.

Introduced commercially around 1784, by 1850 Baldwins were the Northeast’s most popular apple. They remained so for more than fifty years.

Baldwins, too, are excellent in pies as well as for fresh eating; they are aromatic, with a spicy, sweet-tart flavor, and they hold their shape well.

Rhode Island Greening

Rhode Island Greening

RHODE ISLAND GREENINGS are one of America’s oldest apples, dating back to the 1600s, discovered coincidentally by a Mr. Green, an innkeeper in Green’s End near Newport. Rhode Island Greenings were widely cultivated in the Northeast during the 17th century, and at the time of Beach’s book, they were “grown more extensively … than any other apple except the Baldwin.”

A source even older than Beach, Charles Mason Hovey’s 1852 The Fruits of America, writes of Rhode Island Greening, “As a cooking apple, the Greening is unsurpassed; and as a dessert fruit of its season, has few equals.”

Rhode Island Greening has a delicately tart flavor and a tender, juicy flesh that is often a lighter green in color than its skin.

* * *

HERE’S A VARIATION on apple pie from Sally Powell of North Lebanon, Maine, who got it from her mother, Beatrice Boyce, of Elm Hill Farm in Brookfield, Massachusetts, where Sally was born and raised. At age 87, she made it just the other day, using the skillet given to her on her wedding day in 1948.

My Mother’s Apple Pudding

Dough:

3 T butter

1/3 c sugar

1 egg

1 t vanilla

1 c white or whole wheat flour

1-1/2 t baking powder

1/2 t salt

1/4 c milk

Cream together butter and sugar. Add egg and vanilla, and beat well. Mix dry ingredients together, and add to batter alternately with milk. Set aside.

Filling:

4 Northern Spy or other New England apples, cored and sliced

1-2 T butter (Sally’s comment: “Don’t be stingy with it!”)

1/3 c sugar

1 t cinnamon

In bottom of large cast iron skillet, melt butter, cover generously with sliced apples, and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.

Drop spoonfuls of dough on top. Leave open spaces between spoonfuls. Place skillet in oven and bake at 350° for about 50 minutes, or until apples are soft. Remove from oven, and turn over onto serving dish.

My Mother’s Apple Pudding can be eaten as is, or “covered with good old Jersey cow cream,” says Sally. She should know: Elm Hill Farm was famous for more than apples, as home of Borden’s original Elsie the Cow, a good old Jersey.

Note:  An 8″ x 8″ baking dish can be used in place of the skillet.

For variation, drizzle butterscotch or caramel sauce over the pudding.

* * *

‘TIS THE SEASON TO SAMPLE APPLES, especially now that varieties like Baldwin, Northern Spy, and Rhode Island Greening are starting to come in. Other, more widely available late-season apples include Fuji, IdaRed, Mutsu (aka Crispin), Rome, and both Golden and Eastern Red Delicious.

We know of places to sample a variety of New England apples, old and new, in three states this month. Check your local orchards for other tastings.

October 15-16 and 22-23: Mount Wachusett in Princeton, Massachusetts, hosts its 28th annual Applefest, where a number of varieties provided by Red Apple Farm in Phillipston will be available for sampling. Among Applefest’s events is an apple pie contest Saturday, October 15, at 3:30 p.m.

October 22-23: An heirloom apple tasting event will be held at Alyson’s Orchard in Walpole, New Hampshire, from noon to 3 p.m.

October 22: Russell Powell and Bar Weeks of the New England Apple Association will make a presentation about the region’s apples at the White Memorial Conservation Center in Litchfield, Connecticut, at 2 p.m. Refreshments will include apple pie and cider.

* * *

RICH APPLE FLAVOR TOPS THE LIST, but one thing that separates the heavenly, from the merely mortal, apple pie is the quality of the crust. Making flaky piecrust is an art that takes years to perfect. It used to be that lard was considered essential for this task, but seasoned pie chefs like Marge Cook of Cook’s Farm Orchard in Brimfield, Massachusetts, and Andrea Darrow of Green Mountain Orchards in Putney, Vermont, make a superb crust using butter.

The video below features Andrea’s methods for making a perfect crust (two other videos on the Recipes page of our website take the pie from assembly to baking).

When it comes to pie crust, practice is as important as method. But no matter how many times it takes you to become expert at working the dough, the flavor of the filling will always satisfy your audience.

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The naturally occurring bloom on these apples helps them retain moisture. A scab on an apple is no reason to waste an otherwise luscious piece of fruit.

APPLE GROWERS spend their year trying to grow perfect fruit, and they succeed a remarkable amount of the time. The well-shaped, brilliantly colored, smooth-skinned apple is the norm at most orchards. But nature can be as messy as it is abundant, and invariably some fruit gets nicked or marred along the way.

There are many causes of blemishes to apples, and some are cosmetic only. The affected apple is perfectly good to eat, as long as the consumer values flavor over appearance. Take hail damage, for example. A beautiful looking crop can be impacted by as little as 30 seconds of a summer hail storm, leaving small nicks or pockmarks in the apples. If the damage is severe, the apple can split or discolor, and end up in the juice bin. But light hail damage is no reason to reject an otherwise delicious apple.

Sun spots are another cosmetic concern, a result of summer heat waves. As with hail, it makes the apple less attractive for eating, but the fresh fruit is not diminished in any other way.

Scab or russeting which appears as rough or raised spots on the apple’s skin has no impact on healthfulness or flavor. The same goes for bruises, which can occur when apples are mishandled between tree and table: they do no harm if eaten and should not deter anyone from the luscious fruit beneath.

One more thing: it is always wise to wash your apples and to give them a good shine. But the dull film on most apples straight from the tree is a naturally occurring bloom that helps the apple retain moisture (some consumers mistake it for pesticide residue).

Many people ask us where they can find organically grown apples in New England. Our moist climate makes this difficult, though some growers have tried, with limited success. We spoke with one grower in Rhode Island this spring, who several years ago set aside five acres of trees for organic treatment. This was the first year they could be sold as such. “Now,” the grower said, “my challenge is to engage consumers with what they think they want.”

What he meant is that his organic apples would likely have black specks, odd shapes, and other imperfections, qualities that most consumers have come to reject. More and more people want to eat healthy, buy local, and support the family farm. One way to do this is to rethink our demand for uniformity in our apples. The Red Delicious apples imported from the Pacific Northwest are famous for always looking exactly the same. But what they gain in appearance, they sacrifice in flavor.

If you are willing to overlook the occasional cosmetic flaw, nothing can match the flavors and textures of a wide variety of New England apples, old and new. By accepting the occasional blemish, you help the apple grower as well.

* * *

The Empire apple: sweet, with a little tartness

Empire apple

THE EMPIRE is a gorgeous apple: round, medium-sized, deep red in color, with occasional gold or green highlights. A mid-season apple, they are ready for picking now.

Empires have some tartness, but their flavor is sweeter than McIntosh, not surprising since Empire is a cross between a Mac and Eastern Red Delicious. Empires have a juicy, crisp white flesh, and they do not bruise easily. Developed in the Empire state at the New York Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, New York, in 1945, and introduced commercially in 1966, Empires are a great fresh eating or cooking apple. Here is a recipe featuring them.

Apple Oatmeal Bars

1 c whole wheat flour

¾ c oatmeal

¾ c brown sugar, packed

½ c butter, melted

½ c sugar

2 t cornstarch

1 c water

1 t vanilla

4 c Empire or other New England apples, cored, unpeeled, sliced

Melt butter and mix with flour, oatmeal, and brown sugar until crumbly. Press half of this mixture into a greased 9-inch pan. Place apple slices on top.

In a small saucepan, combine water, vanilla, sugar, and cornstarch. Cook until it is a clear, slightly thickened sauce. Pour this over the apple slices. Top with the other half of the crumb mixture.

Bake at 350˚ for 45 minutes. Cool before serving.

* * *

Golden Delicious

Golden Delicious is one of many New England apple varieties that ripen in late October.

APPLE PICKING is in full swing, and will remain so for the rest of October at most New England orchards. Visit our New England Apples website to find a list of pick-your-own orchards, or those that have farm stands (by clicking the link Orchards By State), and call ahead to find out what’s ready for picking.

The short video below provides some suggestions on how to prepare for and enjoy your visit to the orchard.

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