The king of fall fruits in New York is, of course, the apple. But there are so many varieties to choose from its hard to know which to buy. There are the usual suspects: Macintosh, Granny Smith, Red Delicious… But you can do better than these familiar apples. Some recommendations, all of which are New York-grown and priced at $1.15 per pound today:
A varietal called Snow Sweet is crisp and sweet and tart and firm and just about perfect. It has an appealing crunch, and the flesh is slow to brown when exposed to air, so picky kids might be more inclined to go for it. And it will last for 1.5-2 months in the refrigerator. It is similar in flavor to the very popular Honeycrisp, but it’s cheaper and less prone to bruising and spoilage. Perfect for salads or for dessert. Put it out with a nice, sharp cheddar, and it’s an unbeatable snack.
Mutsu apples, sometimes called Crispins, are a greenish yellow apple and are crispier than they appear. They are great for eating and for baking – perfect if you’re planning on entering the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket’s apple pie bake-off this Saturday. If you don’t want to go through all the trouble of making a pie, just throw one in the oven and bake it at 350 degrees until it’s soft (it should take less than an hour). You can also microwave it for 3-5 minutes. If you want to get fancy, you can core the apple and throw butter and sugar and dried fruit in the middle before baking or nuking it.
Another nice eating apple is the Empire, though it bruises more easily and doesn’t store as well as Mutsus or the Snow Sweet. A cross-breed of Macintosh and Red Delicious and native to New York State, the Empire is more sweet than tart and bakes nicely.
It’s a great time of year for pears, too. A recent piece in the Times had some great looking recipes for pear salads.
And Brooklyn markets aren’t the only place to get ’em. This is the time of the year to go apple or pear picking.
Apples and pears. In October, life is sweet. And tart.