Apples are good for the body and soul. They’re packed with disease-fighting antioxidants, and pectin–which can help lower cholesterol levels. And there’s nothing more joyful than wandering through a fragrant orchard, plucking apples from trees heavily laden with the forbidden fruit.
I’m thrilled apple season has arrived. Here’s a healthy sampling of the local apple pickings:
Apple pie. The Pie Store owner, Samantha Codling, bakes a lattice topped apple-blueberry pie that’s not too sweet, not too tart. I love this Brit’s spin on an American classic. “It’s the best of both fruits,” proclaimed my grade-schooler. Samantha says curried apple pumpkin soup will be added to the menu in October.
Frozen dessert: Gelotti’s apple pie ice cream and apple cider ice make their seasonal debut on Sept. 28th. For now, you can get your apple fix from a yummy cup of Red Mango’s cinnamon apple orchard frozen yogurt.
Sandwich: Montclair Bread Company’s green apple, cilantro pesto and queso fresco on ancient grain bread is one of its most popular sandwiches. Moist bread pudding, loaded with apples, is also on the menu.
Salad: Bonjour Montclair’s healthy twist on Waldorf salad substitutes olive oil and honey dressing for gloppy mayo, and adds pineapple for punch. The salad is tastier, prettier and healthier than your typical, tired Waldorf. Owner Michael Tuna plans to add it to his updated menus soon. In the meantime, just ask for it. Apple cinnamon crepes, of course, are always in season.
Apple cider: Look for Melick’s Town Farm preservative-free cider from Oldwick, N.J., in area grocery stores, including Whole Foods. Best served hot, with a shot of orange juice and a real cinnamon stick “straw.”
The hard stuff: Stew Leonard’s Wines in Clifton appears to have the largest selection of hard ciders in the area. They carry Angry Orchard, Crispin, Magners, Doc’s Draft Sour Cherry and Pumpkin hard ciders, and possibly the best of the bunch–J. K.’s Scrumpy. It contains only two ingredients: fresh organic apple juice and yeast.
Soup: Comfort Food Kitchen is launching its fall cooking classes on Oct. 1st, featuring pumpkin curry soup with granny smith apples. You can also learn to bake traditional cinnamon apple pie and many other delicious dishes. Sign-up for classes here.
Freshly picked apples: I’ve visited my share of local orchards over the last few years, and you can’t beat Sun High in Randolph, N.J. for an all-around wonderful apple-picking experience. Family-run since 1945, the beautiful, well-kempt orchard boasts a huge variety of crisp, juicy apples: Golden and Red Delicious, Cortland, Macoun’s, Empire, Fuji, Jonagolds, Winesaps, Romes, Cameo, Liberty and Smokehouse.
Please let us know in comments if we missed your favorite local apple delectable.