SENECA CO., N.Y. — As summer gives way to cooler nights and changing foliage, we look forward to all of the wonderful things the fall season has to offer. October is nationally recognized as Farm to School (F2S) month, providing the perfect opportunity to highlight the abundance of local agricultural products being harvested this time of year. From pumpkins and winter squash, to apples and grapes, there is much to celebrate this fall. October is also National Apple Month, and Seneca County Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) F2S program is gearing up for a fun filled F2S month by featuring New York State (NYS) apples as the NY Harvest of the Month! In fact, with local Empire apples from Countryside Market in Interlaken, South Seneca Food Service Director Adam Snell has already served a take on Apple Empanadas with Caramel Sauce for one of their NY Thursdays. Snell said, “The kids devoured these. I was surprised. I made two full size pans and they were gone in one lunch period.” The ample availability of NY apples, with varieties ranging in flavors for every palate, makes cooking delicious recipes like this easy. Funded by a NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets F2S grant, the Seneca CCE F2S program will be celebrating F2S and NY apples with agriculture books and lessons, apple recipes and nutrition, a “NY Apple Variety of the Day” social media spotlight, and a New York Apple Association sponsored NY Fall Apple Harvest Poster Contest.
Apples are the second most consumed fruit in the U.S., only second to bananas, and according to the USDA, New York State is the 2nd largest apple producing state, right behind Washington. On average 29.5 million bushels of apples are produced annually by the 600 commercial apple growers in the state. In NYS alone, there are more than 31 varieties of apples commercially available, enough to highlight a new variety each day this month. Check out some of the most well-known varieties for flavor profiles and best uses here: www.applesfromny.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/NYAA-Sweetness-Chart.pdf . NY is also home to the oldest apple breeding program in the US, which is located right here in the Finger Lakes and has released over 65 varieties since the 1890’s, including the Cortland, Macoun, Empire, and Jonagold apples. The Cornell Apple Breeding Program released two of these varieties, the popular Snapdragon® and RubyFrost® in 2013 and in early 2020 Cornell apple researchers at Cornell AgriTech released three new apple varieties: Cordera, Pink Luster, and Firecracker, which are projected to be the next favorites of apple lovers everywhere.
The old saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” is an ode to their nutritional value and health benefits. One apple contains 20% of your recommended daily fiber needs, 8% of your daily vitamin C, and 7% of your daily potassium. Fiber helps to control blood sugar levels, makes you feel full for a longer period of time, and improves gut health. Vitamin C supports immune health and aids in building strong bones and teeth, while potassium makes for a healthy heart. In addition to these highlighted nutrients, apples contain several other essential vitamins and minerals, making them a top choice for a quick breakfast or snack! Be sure to eat the skin. Most of the fruit’s antioxidants, vitamin C, and fiber are located in, or just under, the skin. The USDA MyPlate guidelines recommend that school aged children consume 1-2 servings of fruit a day, which can be a small apple that is equivalent to 1 serving or a large apple that equals 2. Apples paired with cheese from any of our Finger Lakes cheesemakers are another great snack idea. The applesauce recipe featured below is an easy way to incorporate an apple into your day. It provides a serving of fruit, is perfect for fall time, and the smell of cinnamon will fill your home! Did you know you can also preserve your fresh homemade applesauce to enjoy all year long? You can even can apple pie filling to make fresh apple pies this holiday season! Cornell Cooperative Extension has certified Master Food Preservers that can help you with home food preservation questions or concerns, and information on preserving apples and canning applesauce can be found on the National Center for Home Food Preservation website, here: https://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_02/applesauce.html. For other delicious apple recipes try a Kale Apple Salad, Roasted Winter Squash and Apples, or even include apples in soups, sandwiches, and many baking recipes.
We have planned an apple packed F2S month this October. Make sure you check out the NYS Farm to School Program – CCE Seneca Facebook page everyday this month for the featured “NY Apple Variety of the Day”, as well as recipes and farm videos (www.facebook.com/CCEsenecaF2S/). This is a great time to support local farmers and apple orchards, so get out there and enjoy the gorgeous apple picking weather and peak fall foliage in the Finger Lakes region!
Recipe: New York Stovetop Apple Sauce (yields 3 servings)
Source: NY Apple Association
6 cups of apples cut into 3/4 inch pieces 1. Combine apples, water, and sugar into medium saucepan.
3/4 cup water Bring to boil, stirring occasionally.
1/4 cup turbinado sugar (or light brown sugar) 2. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until tender and skins are
2 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice softened, about 40 minutes.
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 3. Uncover and simmer until all liquid is gone, about 10 minutes.
Stir in lemon juice and cinnamon. Cool.
4. Use fork or potato masher to mash until chunky. Serve warm or cold!
Recipe: Harvest Kale Apple Salad (yields 4 (1.5 cup) servings)
1 large bunch Kale (1 lb.) 1. Remove stem and finely chop kale. Core and dice the apple.
1 NYS apple, diced 2. Toss diced apple in 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice.
1/8 cup lemon juice 3. Make dressing by whisking together the remaining lemon
1/8 cup local honey juice, honey, salt, and pepper.
1/4 cup oil 4. Slowly add in oil, whisking until dressing thickens.
1/2 teaspoon salt 5. Add dressing to kale and toss.
1/2 teaspoon pepper 6. Add diced apple and dried cranberries/raisins to salad
1/4 cup dried cranberries or raisins mixture. Salad is best made the day before serving.
–Cornell Cooperative Extension Seneca County