2014-10-30 / From The Garden

Delicious Autumn Apple Varieties

By Cynthia Gibson

It is autumn, and colorful leaves are scattered on the lawn and streets. Sunny fall days are made for long walks. Scuffling your feet through the leaves on the ground is a tradition in the fall. This is also the time to pick this year’s crop of apples.

Apples, cinnamon and crisp air work well together. Weekends are the prime time to pick, and there is no time better than the next three weeks to gather fall apples.

Jan Eckhart, the owner of Sweet Berry Farm says, “The orchards are filled with Macoun, Mutsu, Crispin, Jonagold, and Fuji. And they are ready to pick.”

The apples Eckhart mentions all have their own characteristics. The three basic types are those eaten right off the tree, those used for cooking, and cider apples.

The Macoun apple is a hybrid that is relatively new. Created in the late 1900s, it is a cross between McIntosh and Jersey Black varieties. It tastes very much like a McIntosh, but it ripens later and is sweet and juicy. It is known as a perfect dessert apple. That means you can eat it fresh off the tree and it is sweet enough to be considered a dessert. The apple is named after a Canadian grower W.T. Macoun.

Cynthia Gibson is a gardener, food writer and painter. She gardens and tends her miniature orchard in Newport. Cynthia Gibson is a gardener, food writer and painter. She gardens and tends her miniature orchard in Newport. The Mutsu apple is another hybrid from the mid-1900s. It is a cross between Golden Delicious and Indo a Japanese seedling apple. The Mutsu created in Japan, is crisp and sweet in flavor, and has a lovely fall yellow-green color. It is quite large and perfect for cooking and eating fresh.

Crispin is another name for the Mutsu, there is no difference in varieties. Crispin is the name given to Mutsu at a later date. It is excellent for cooking and overlaps into the cider apple category.

Jonagold is a spectacular fall apple. This is an enormous beast of a fruit. I ate my first Jonagold from Sweet Berry Farm many years ago. I was enthralled by its huge size. I only had to purchase three to make the largest homemade apple pie. Jonagold is a triploid apple, meaning it is sterile. It is impossible for this apple to self-pollinate and it does not pollinate other apples. You need one or two apple trees

that blossom at the same time in the spring as Jonagold. This will assure pollination, and then apples! Jonagold is a cross between the reddish Jonathan apple and Golden Delicious. In pomological, circles one will find that the Golden Delicious apple is responsible for many new hybrids. Jonagold is the ultimate fall apple that is best for cooking. It makes a fabulous apple sauce and apple salad and holds its shape when baked. They are of course are brilliant for the all-American apple pie. A fabulous variety crosses over all three types of apples - fresh eating, cooking, and cider - and Jonagold does just that.

You can buy Fuji in the supermarket or from an orchard. It is cross between Red Delicious and Ralls Janet apples, bred at a Japanese research station. The fruit was developed in the 1960s but was not introduced to the American market until the 1980s. Fuji took our marketplace by storm. It is excellent for eating fresh or for cooking.

The common link between all of these apples is that they are delicious.

Baked Apples

Serves 6

This is the simplest of recipes, but one that you can eat on a weekly basis.

6 Fuji or Jonagold apples, washed
and cored
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
6 tbsp. real maple syrup
1/2 stick butter cut into small pieces (a bit more for buttering the
baking dish)
1 cup water
1 pint of cream (optional)

Butter a baking dish that is at least 13” x 9” x 2” or a little larger if using huge Jonagold apples. Mix the sugar and cinnamon in a bowl reserving, two tablespoons of the mixture for later. Fill the cored cavity with the remaining sugar and cinnamon mixture. Spoon one tablespoon of maple syrup into each apple. Fill the cavity with bits of butter. Add the water to the bottom of the dish. Do not pour the water over the apples. Sprinkle the remaining sugar, butter and cinnamon mixture over the top of the apples. Place in a preheated 350 degree oven and bake for 35 minutes. To prevent splitting, make a small vertical slice into the top of each apple. The slice should be at least one inch long into the skin.

Carefully warm the cream with one tablespoon of brown sugar. Do not let the mixture boil. Warm the cream until the sugar is dissolved. Place each apple with a heaping spoonful of its sauce and natural juices into separate bowls. Pass the pitcher of warm cream to pour over the apples and dive in! The fragrance of hot baked apples, cinnamon, and maple sugar will fill your house and nostrils with the fragrance of autumn.

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