Eat Seasonal, Eat Local: The last of the apple season

At this time of year, you should go for the last of the apples, even if they are just baking varieties. Here are a couple recipes to get the most out of this seasonal crop. (Dan Parsons/Wikimedia Commons)

As the harvest season comes to a close, these first few weeks of November are the last weeks to get up and pick what is left out in the fields! Going out to pick fall fruits and vegetables is a great way to have fun with friends while the weather is still mild. Not to mention all the other fall farm activities like country hayrides and corn mazes. There is not much produce left at this time of year, so all the more reason to go out and get some delicious local produce while there is still time.

Some of the crops that you’re likely to find are winter squash, like pumpkins and gourds, as well as many varieties of apples or pears. At this time of year, you should go for the last of the apples, even if they are just baking varieties.

Apples were first produced in America in 1625 in Massachusetts. New England has been the main hub for apple production in the United States for well over 300 years. Capitalize on your local history and food culture and get some apples to help improve sense of community, food security and the lives of small farmers, not to mention your health!

According to the U.S. Apple Association, “Mounting research suggests powerful antioxidants in apples and apple products play an essential role in reducing risks of prevalent diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s…OSU reports eating one apple a day for four weeks lowered blood levels of oxidized LDL, the ‘bad cholesterol,’ by 40%.” So there really is some truth to the old ‘an apple a day’ saying.

If you are new to the area or have little knowledge of farms operating during this time for either retail or field picking, you can find out using the website pickyourown.org. They have a calendar to see what else is in season as well as a listing of farms, hours, available produce and contact information for farms in the Tolland county and Hartford county areas, so anyone can find a farm that is just right for what they need!

Many apple producers will typically sell by weight, at the end of your picking before you leave the field, around or below market price per pound, which is about $1.20. This late in the season, you might find better rates or manage to haggle the rate down a bit, either way you should stock up for the winter ahead. What to do with all the extra apples? Can or bake them of course, or perhaps both! Now you can have delicious local apples ready to use for Thanksgiving, Christmas and well into the winter.

Here is a simple cinnamon apple canning recipe as well as an easy pie dough for you to bake them in! Whether it is a crumble, hand pies, open or closed face pie, these recipes are extremely versatile and are sure to keep you warm around the oven this fall.

CANNED APPLES

Makes 2 quarts of canned apples

  • Special equipment: 2 one-quart mason jars
  • 6-8 apples
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 5 cups of water
  • 2.5 cups of sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. of cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. of clove
  • ¼ tsp. of all spice
  • ¼ tsp. of ground nutmeg
  1. Prepare a boiling water bath in a large stock pot
  2. Place the water, sugar and all the spice in a medium sauce pot over medium high heat and allow to come to a boil
  3. Reduce to a simmer and cook syrup down, stirring occasionally for 20 min
  4. Prepare apples by peeling and chopping them into 1/4 inch slices, placing in a large bowl filled half way up with water and the lemon juice, to prevent browning while you prep all your apples
  5. Fill the jars as completely as you can, don’t worry if some apples break when stuffing the jars down
  6. Pour the cinnamon syrup over the apples leaving a ½” of head space at the top of the jar
  7. Wipe the rim off with a wet towel, and apply the lids but do not over tighten
  8. Place the jars in the boiling water bath, so the water is up to or over the top of the lid.
  9. Treat the jars in the water bath for 25 min
  10. Remove jars from bath with tongs and allow to cool
  11. Store in a cool dry place, without direct sunlight for up to 10 months

NOTE: When baking the preserved apples, always drain slightly before use.

‘3-2-1’ PIE DOUGH

Called ‘3-2-1’ because the ratio of flour, butter, and water by weight used to make this dough. If you have a scale you can make this recipe as large or as small as you’d like

  • 1 ½ cups of all-purpose flower
  • 1 stick of sweet cream salted butter, quartered long ways and diced into little cubes
  • 4-5 Tbsp of cold water
  • 1 tsp. of sugar if for sweet applications (optional)
  1. Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl and whisk until fluffy and well mixed
  2. Add the cold butter and work with your hands until small pea sized balls begin to form in the mixture
  3. In small doses, add the water until the dough just comes together but is not wet or too dry with cracks and excess flour
  4. Do not overwork the dough, it will become a chewy like pizza dough, not flaky and crisp like pastry crust.
  5. Shape into a manageable mass and allow to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes before use or store in the freezer for later   

NOTE: this can also be done quicker in a food processor, just be careful not to overwork the dough as the machine makes this much quicker and easier to do.


Dan Wood is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at daniel.wood@uconn.edu.