As New Englanders, we welcome apple season, with its changing leaves and crisp, cooling days. Apples are such a beloved part of our fall traditions; it may be surprising to learn that the fruit is not native to North America.
Apples originated in Kazakhstan, in central Asia, and were carried to Europe during the Bronze Age. Pilgrims who settled in Massachusetts in 1620 brought young apple trees from England and planted seedling orchards throughout New England.
Apples are Even Healthier Than You Think!
According to Harvard’s School of Public Health, Apples are an excellent source of fiber and vitamin C. They are also rich in flavonoids which provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects and pectin that may help prevent constipation and provide other benefits. So let’s get eating!
Which Apple is Right for You?
There are over 200 apple varieties grown in New England, each with its own unique flavor profile, texture and recommended use. Fortunately, Chip-in Farm has simplified the selection process by choosing six distinct and delicious varieties to stock. Please note, availability of the varieties may vary.
Take a look at the image below, adapted from New England Apples to choose the apples that are right for you.
Start a Cooking Tradition
Our guest contributor, Nancy Langer, AOS Culinary Institute of America, recalls the joy of making applesauce while growing up in Minnesota. She share the recipe below, noting it is as easy as it sounds, and there is nothing like homemade applesauce.
- Any amount of apples – Mustu, McIntosh or Cortland are recommended.
- Peel (optional) then core the apples
Pro tip: Unpeeled McIntosh or Cortland apples give a gorgeous blush to your sauce but the peels must be removed later in the process.
- Rough chop apples
- Add a bit of lemon juice to the apples to retard browning. The amount depends on how many apples you will be cooking, about ½ – 1 lemon per 6 apples.
- Into a pot that has a lid, add the apples and lemon juice. Cover and cook over low to medium heat, stirring occasionally, allowing the apple to sweat, until soft and saucy. Avoid scorching.
- If you have opted to leave the peels on, you will need to push the pulp through a sieve or use a potato ricer to separate the peel from pulp.
- Serve warm or cold.
- Apple sauce is a family favorite for pancakes – potato or breakfast ones – in lieu of maple syrup, or with pork dishes.
Here are freezing instructions, adapted from the National Center for Home Preservation:
- Cool the cooked applesauce completely.
- Pack the applesauce into rigid plastic or glass freezer containers. Avoid trapping air bubbles and getting sealing edges of the container dirty.
- Leave sufficient headspace for the container – ½” for pint, 1” for quart sizes.
- Seal the container and secure with freezer tape if desired.
- Label and place the applesauce in the freezer. It’s best if eaten within 8 – 12 months.
Whatever variety you prefer, fall is a wonderful time to experience the delicious, healthy and versatile apple. Stop by Chip-in Farm to choose your favorite apple varieties and pick up some fresh, local cider and apple muffin donuts.