The kids are back in school, and that means we food lovers have to brace ourselves for the inevitable “goodbye” to summer stone fruit. It’s easy to feel glum as you contemplate all the peach jam you didn’t make (even though you promised yourself you would – this year) and the fact that it will be months before you can sink your teeth into another Elephant Heart plum or Blenheim apricot. However, Nature, in her infinite wisdom, has come up with the perfect antidote for our end-of-the-season produce peevishness. It’s called the apple, and this amazing, multi-faceted fruit never fails to crisply and sweetly impel us into autumn.
If your acquaintance with apples doesn’t extend beyond the Red Delicious, Gala or Fuji, you may not be aware that there’s a world of apple varieties available for your snacking pleasure. Visit your local farmers’ market or co-op and check out the selection – you might find the yellow and red-blushed (or striped) Sierra Beauty (wonderfully crunchy, juicy and vivacious); the intriguing Jonagold (a cross between the Golden Delicious and the Jonathan apple) with its creamy yellow flesh and honeyed flavor; or the candy-red Empire (a cross between the McIntosh and the Red Delicious apple), great when paired with your favorite cheese and toasted walnuts.
I said my quiet “goodbye” to stone fruit this past weekend; then made a Pink Lady and Pink Pearl apple and (frozen) wild blackberry pie with my seven year old daughter. It was a sweet and very satisfying first step into autumn.