New England may be most known for maple syrup, but apples thrive here and are available in abundant varieties in baskets shown above. Because many varieties of apples are not ideal for either transport or storage, we can sample older kinds not commercially viable. We can try different kinds and decide what kind of apple we prefer.
Yesterday I bought a couple of a variety new to me called Smitten. After getting home, I saw it had a sticker Smitten.com on it, so I knew something was up. This was clearly not an old variety. I cut it up and ate it deciding I liked it crisp texture but that it was too sweet for me. I then went to Smitten.com and discovered it was a new variety, developed in New Zealand and now being grown in the United States. It is very popular, apparently, along with the Honey Crisp. Both are too sweet for me: I prefer the sharp tang of older varieties. But many Americans have a craving for sweet and apparently apples are being developed to satisfy the desire.
Until recently fresh apples were really only tasty in the fall. But apple tree are prolific bearers and my forebears were faced with what to do with the bounty. So we made apple cider, hard cider, apple cider vinegar, apple butter, apple pie, and applesauce. The peels were used to make the pectin that thickens jelly. Studying the early 1800’s ledger of a store I found that one of my ancestors traded apples for goods. Unfortunately, he traded for rum. Apparently hard cider wasn’t enough!
Of course I spent the afternoon making an apple pie. Simple recipe really: 2 and 1/2 pounds of apples(I mixed three varieties), 1/2 cup of sugar, 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, freshly grated nutmeg, a little cinnamon, a dash of lemon juice and two teaspoons of cornstarch. Pie crust for top and bottom. Bake for 30 minutes at 400 degrees then 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Enjoy!