WELCOME to the 2018 New England fresh apple harvest! Picking is already underway at many orchards (visit the Orchard Finder at newenglandapples.org to find one nearby), and more varieties will be ripening nearly every week between now and October.
The crop is looking good so far; a full forecast for New England by state and region will be posted next week.
One of the best early season apples is Paula Red. Learn its history and characteristics by watching the one-minute video below, one of 14 new videos that we will be featuring in the coming weeks describing New England’s most popular varieties as they ripen in the orchard.
To find out where Paula Reds are grown, visit Paula Red.
THIS RECIPE for Apple Squares was sent to us by Melissa Caldwell of Whately, Massachusetts.
“The recipe originated with Grandma Packard, my mother’s grandmother, who raised her family in Plainfield, Massachusetts,” Melissa writes.
“The apples came from small local family orchards back then. For us, it was a trip to Apple Valley in Ashfield to pick up drops at $5 a bushel.”
“So these squares were seasonal and the season very welcomed. I can still smell the apple squares coming out of the oven!”
The squares are healthy and delicious, using molasses and honey for sweetener rather than white sugar, and wheat germ for added nutrition and texture. Leave the apples unpeeled for added antioxidants.
We made a few changes, substituting butter and applesauce for oil, reducing the honey by half to ½ cup, and adding raisins since they pair so well with apples.
The result was delectable, and plenty sweet.
¼ c molasses
½ c honey
1 c flour
½ c whole wheat flour
½ c wheat germ
1 t baking powder
2 t cinnamon
1 t vanilla
½ c butter, softened
½ c applesauce
1 c chopped pecans or walnuts
½ raisins (optional)
1½-2 medium Paula Reds or other New England apples, diced (about 2 c)
Preheat oven to 350°.
Butter a 9×13 pan.
In large bowl, stir together molasses, honey, and eggs.
Add dry ingredients.
Stir in butter, applesauce, and vanilla.
Fold in apples, nuts, and raisins, if used.
Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.
HAVE an interesting apple recipe? Send it to us, with the story behind it, to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll consider it for the blog.
INTERESTED in learning more about New England apples? Apples of New England by Russell Steven Powell includes photographs by Bar Lois Weeks and written descriptions of more than 100 varieties grown in the region, plus a history of apple growing in New England.
For a look at how apples are grown, sold, and used in the United States, including a chapter of recipes, try America’s Apple, also by Powell and Weeks.
Both books have five-star ratings on Amazon!