It’s time to take advantage of all the fabulous apples now in season locally. Buy them for lunchboxes, bake them into muffins, pies and crisps, and cook them into applesauce.
They are the sweetest way to add nutrition and fiber to your diet.
But which apples are the best for which use? If you have stood in front of an array of apples at a local farm or farm market, you know that this versatile fruit has a wide range of textures and sweetness.
Happily, our local farmers know which apples are best for eating and baking. At Manoff Market Gardens in Solebury, the best-selling apple for eating is Honey Crisp, says Amy Manoff, who owns the farm with her husband, Gary. This hybrid, in season for a few more weeks, has fans who come out just to make sure they get theirs while it’s in season.
Fujis and Galas, both sweet apples, are next on the list for lunchboxes, while Manoff recommends a blend of apples for pies and crisps.
“I like to use at least three kinds of apples in pies,” she said, and many of her customers feel the same way. “Bakers are very serious about their pies,” she said.
She makes her recommendations based on whether the baker wants fruit that is soft when baked, or varieties that hold some of their firmness.
For flavor, she likes to mix a sweet apple, a tart apple, and one that is both in order to create different flavor notes in a pie. Her current favorites are Jonaprince, Cortland and Jonagold.
But every local apple orchard owner has different varieties to blend when you bake your pie or crisp, such as this one from foodnetwork.com. Just ask the farmer; he or she is the expert.
6 baking apples, peeled, cored, and cut into wedges
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 ¼ cups flour
½ cup rolled oats
½ cup light brown sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons butter (1½ sticks), chilled and cut into small pieces
½ cup nuts, coarsely chopped and toasted
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
For the fruit filling: In a large mixing bowl, toss together the apples, lemon juice, sugar and flour. Pour the apple mixture into a buttered 2-quart baking dish and set aside.
For the topping: In a large mixing bowl, mix the flour, rolled oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. With a food processor, a pastry blender, or your fingers work the butter into the flour mixture just until it comes together and large clumps form. Fold nuts into mixture.
Sprinkle the topping evenly over the fruit. Bake the apple crisp until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is golden brown and crisp, about 45 minutes.
Serve the crisp warm with vanilla bean ice cream or fresh whipped cream, if desired.