Don’t Forget the Apples!

Like a number of New England apple varieties, the flavor of Idareds, shown here at Buell’s Orchard, Eastford, Connecticut, improves in storage. (Russell Steven Powell)

DURING TIMES LIKE THIS, it is more important than ever that we eat well and support our local businesses. Both goals can be met with New England apples. 

The region’s apple growers are facing more pressure than just the coronavirus, as the unseasonably warm temperatures increase the risk of a frost in April or even May that could damage the 2020 crop.

The good news is that some of the best New England apples from the 2019 harvest are still available at many stores and orchards. They are delicious and nutritious, and there are many ways to get them safely home.

Ask for New England apples at your grocery store. There are still good supplies of Cortland, Empire, Honeycrisp, and McIntosh.

Many orchard stores and farm stands remain open and offer even more variety (visit the Orchard Finder for information). Growers are using innovative methods to meet customers’ needs, from delivery to curbside pickup, email orders, and shipping.

Bishop’s Orchards in Guilford, Connecticut, has a good selection at its store, including Braeburn, Empire, Jonagold, Mutsu, Red Delicious, and Stayman, plus fresh and hard cider, apple wine, applesauce, apple salsa, and apple butter.

Carlson Orchards in Harvard, Massachusetts, has 12 varieties of apples for sale along with fresh and hard cider.

Massachusetts orchards Atkins Farm in Amherst, Phoenix Fruit Farm in Belchertown, and Bolton Orchards in Bolton, and Applecrest Farm Orchards in Hampton Falls, New Hampshire, not only have good apples, but also a full range of produce, meats, and specialty grocery items.

While no variety is as tart today as it was when first picked, thanks to advancement in storage methods, New England apples remain crisp and juicy throughout the year. 

The flavor of many varieties, in fact, improves over time, becoming mellower, richer, and more complex. EverCrisp, Idared, and Suncrisp are prime examples, but even classics like Cortland and McIntosh, if stored properly, offer both crunch and outstanding apple flavor right now.

So eat well, support a local farmer, while learning a new skill in the kitchen. Your taste buds will be glad you did! 

Sautéeing apples for German Apple Pancake. (Russell Steven Powell)

FOR BREAKFAST, try this recipe for German Apple Pancakes, sent to us by Elaine Goodwin Baker of North Lebanon, Maine. She found the original recipe online and made a few changes, notably adding nutmeg, “because it’s my favorite flavor.” She used Braeburn apples.

Then, “just to ramp up the goodness of the pancake,” Elaine writes that she lays cooked bacon over the apple slices before pouring the batter over them.

While we omitted the bacon in ours, we kept the nutmeg and made a few other changes, including ramping up the cinnamon. We used EverCrisp apples from Pine Hill Orchard, Colrain, Massachusetts. This protein-packed pancake is delicious and so easy to make! 

One advantage for the cook is that breakfast is ready at once. No stacking pancakes in the oven while cooking the rest. No flipping pancakes while everyone is enjoying the rewards.

You can find lots of great apple recipes for every meal at our website, newenglandapples.org.

German Apple Pancake

German Apple Pancake. (Russell Steven Powell)

A great way to start the day!

As always, leave on the apple peels for added nutrition, texture, and color.

Batter

4 eggs

1 c milk

1/4 c flour

1/4 c whole wheat flour

2 T butter, melted

1 T sugar

1 t cinnamon

1/2 t nutmeg

Mix ingredients together until blended. Let sit for 30 minutes or in the refrigerator overnight.

Filling

2 of your favorite New England apples, cored and thinly sliced

2 T butter

1 T sugar

1/2 t cinnamon

Preheat oven to 425°F.

While oven heats, in oven-proof skillet melt 2 T butter on medium heat. Add apples, sugar, and cinnamon. Cook, stirring frequently, until apples are slightly soft.

Pour batter over apples, and bake in oven for 15 minutes. Turn heat down to 375°F and bake for another 10 minutes.

 

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