Friday, October 11, 2013

You are the Apple of My Pie!
As we are in the midst of apple season here in the Hudson Valley, I felt it was important to dedicate some time to the tasty and nutritious treat. Almost all apples can be enjoyed fresh, however, not all apples are created equal when it comes to cooking. Below are examples of some of the best uses for the different varieties found in New York. 
Braeburn - Crisp, Aromatic, Sweet and Tart.
Best uses - salads, baking, and sauce

Cortland - Crisp and Tart
Best Uses - salads, sauces, pie 
Fuji - Sweet, Spicy, Juicy, and Firm
Best Uses - baking and sauce
Gala - Mild, Sweet, Juicy, and Crisp
Best Uses - cider, baking and sauce.
Golden Delicious - Sweet, Crisp, and Mellow 
Best Uses - baking, salads, pies 
Granny Smith - Tart, Crisp, Mildly Sweet 
Best Uses - Salads, Baked
Jonagold - Tangy, Sweet and Firm
Best Uses - Pie, Sauce 
Rome - Mild, Sweet, and Juicy
Best Uses - Baking and Cider

 If you are anything like me, you are up to your elbows in America's favorite snack.  Fear not!  Not only do apples taste great, but they are also Culinary Heroes!  Here are some tips for the surplus fruit:
Cook a Moist Bird
If your cooking leaves your poultry as dry as the Saharra, don't fret.  Roast your chicken with an apple in the cavity.  When the bird is done, trash the apple and enjoy a juicy meal.

Avoid Stale Baked Goods
By storing your fresh cakes with half an apple, you will extend it's shelf life.  The apple helps keep the cake moist for much longer than if it was just kept in the fridge.
Ripen Fruit
You can quickly ripen fruit, such as tomatoes, avocados, and bananas, by placing them in a paper bag with a ripe apple for a few days. Apples give off ethylene, a plant hormone, that ripens fruit after it has been picked. 
Soften Brown Sugar
Brown sugar clumps and hardens in humidity. Luckily, all it takes is an apple wedge to soften your sugar.  Tightly seal an apple wedge in a plastic bag with the hardened brown sugar for a day or two and viola, fluffy brown sugar.
Did You Know???
-2 large (or 4 small) apples = 1 pound
-3 cups of peeled, sliced apples = 1 pound
-36 apples = 1 gallon cider


-The crabapple is the only apple native to North America.
-Apples are fat, sodium, and cholesterol free.
-Apples are a member of the rose family.
-Two-thirds of the fiber and antioxidants are found in the apple peel. Antioxidants help to reduce cell damage, and diseases.

Apple and Butternut Squash Soup
    3 tablespoons unsalted butter                                                       
     1 1/2 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, sliced
     1 large butternut squash                                                                  
    1 large leek
     2 garlic gloves
    1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
    6 cups vegetable broth
    1 cup apple cider
    1 tsp brown sugar
1- Halve the butternut squash lengthwise, scoop the seeds out, and roast in a 400 degree oven until
     soft.  Cool and scoop flesh out of skin. 
2- In a large pot, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add leaks, garlic, apple, and coriander and 
     sauté until slightly softened, about 12 minutes.
3- Add broth and juice.  Simmer until apples are tender, about 30 minutes.
4 - Puree soup in blender with butternut squash pulp.  Thin with more broth if desired.
5- Season soup with brown sugar, salt and pepper. Enjoy!
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