Monthly Archives: September 2015

Apples!

There’s a good reason that apples are the official fruit of New York State: we are the

second largest producer of apples in the United States, and there are almost 700

apple farms here. The apple industry in New York State employs about 17,500

people. Apple trees are happiest in a climate that is warm half the year and cold half

the year. Apple trees also need a lot of water in order to produce fruit, so even

though rain can dampen our spring and summer plans sometimes, it makes the

apple trees very happy!

Even though the Red Delicious is one of the most popular apple varieties, it doesn’t

really have the best flavor. Not all apples are best for the same thing, either; some

are great for eating, while others are awesome in baking. Don’t worry if you like to

eat fresh apples and cook with them – a lot of varieties work for both.

Here are some facts about apples:

 You can use your SNAP card to purchase all kinds of apples at farmers’

markets across the state.

 Some of the tastiest New York State apples are Braeburn, Honeycrisp,

Jonagold, Macoun, and Northern Spy. Don’t be afraid to try other varieties

that you might see at your local market – remember that the farmer can

answer any questions you have about their products.

 Apples are part of the rose family – yup, those roses. Peaches, plums, pears,

and cherries are also in that family.

 Most apples are picked by hand, not machine.

 Apples float because they are 25% air.

 One of President George Washington’s favorite hobbies was caring for his

apple trees.

 There are 7,000 different kinds of apples grown around the world. 2,500 of

these are grown in America. The only apple that comes from the USA is the

crabapple.

 Scientists think that apple trees first grew in mountains that are between

modern-day China and Russia. People started growing them as a crop in

ancient times (around 325 BC). The first apple orchard was planted in the

United States in 1625.

 Apples are delicious and good for you, so buy them when they’re fresh at

your farmers’ market!

Here’s what’s being picked this week*:

Apples

Raspberries

Cabbage

Leeks

*Availability will vary by market due to differences in growing zones.

Check out these recipes:

Apples

Leeks

Saving Farmers’ Market Finds for a Rainy (or Snowy) Day

Depending on where you are in New York State, you can look forward to your winter being either very long, or kind of long. Fortunately, you can keep the flavors of summer throughout winter by using a few different methods.

  • Drying: You can dry (dehydrate) your produce using a cookie sheet, a piece of cheesecloth, and your oven. Even though dehydrating your produce isn’t hard, there are a lot of steps to follow. First, you will want to blanch your vegetables in hot water. Blanching is putting your veggies in boiling water for a short period of time and then cooling them under cold water. You can get the rest of the instructions and handy charts to help you here: http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/foodnut/09308.html. You can get the steps to dry fruit here: http://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/uga/uga_dry_fruit.pdf.
  • Canning: Make your own jams and jellies at home using your saved summer fruit, and your kitchen will smell amazing! Fruits, tomatoes and pickles can all be canned using a water bath on your stove. Learn how here: http://www.freshpreserving.com/getting-started.
  • Freezing: Bread and meat are super easy to freeze – just pop them in the freezer! However, to reduce the risk of food-borne illness, it is best to not re-freeze meat that has been thawed. If it’s your first time freezing fruits and veggies, maybe stick with hardier fruits like blueberries (they freeze like a dream) because super soft fruits like strawberries, raspberries, or blackberries are more difficult to freeze. Here are step-by-step tips: http://www.designmom.com/2013/05/living-well-11-secrets-to-properly-freezing-produce/
  • Remember Fruit Roll Ups (do they even still make them)? You can make your own fruit leather at home using farmer’s market fruits, and all you need is a blender, a baking sheet, microwave-safe plastic wrap, and an oven. If you make a lot, you can pop them in the freezer to save for later too! Learn how here: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/how_to_make_fruit_leather/

 

What’s being picked this week*:

Pears

Plums

Carrots

Beets

 

*Availability will vary by market due to differences in growing zones.

 

Check out these recipes:

Beets

Pears