Apple recipes rule the season
Autumn is undeniably here. Portland's usual extended summer was virtually non-existent this year, so cooks all across the city took the shift in weather as a cue to break out the baking equipment.
Apples are a favorite for baking and cooking, especially here in the northwest. With apple orchards dotting the landscape across the region, epicureans in the Portland area have access to many varieties at exceptional prices. In the Portland area, apples are between $1.00 to $3.00 per pound. Certainly, the current price is a dramatic increase over the previous years, but it is still reasonable considering the versatility and nutrition qualities of the fruit.
Which apples are best for baking?
The culinary standard is the granny smith apple, beloved for its tart flavor and firm texture. However, there are many more varieties to choose from due to cross-breeding and planting of diverse varietals. Though the granny smith is still a delightful medium for baked apple treats, now there are other varieties that might surpass the granny smith.
- Gala apples are sweeter than granny smith, and a bit softer when baked. They require less sugar and bake up with a rich, apple taste. The flavor is along the lines of a red apple, but a bit more tart and firm.
- Pink lady apples have a firm texture, similar to the granny smith and require much less sugar to achieve the sweet taste, but they tend to be the most expensive of the varieties at the local grocery store. The flavor tends to be like a cross between granny smith and golden apples, but with flowery notes and more intense apple flavor.
- Honeycrisp tend to bake up very soft, and are fabulous for apple sauces, apple purees, and other liquid-based apple treats. The flavor tends to be quite bright and milder than a red apple, with honey like notes.
- Fuji apples are also good to work with and hold their texture well. The flavor is mild, so draw it out with fresh lemon juice, honey and extra spices. The flavor tends to be milder than most other apples, but sweet.
Classic red and golden apples tend to perform poorly in baked goods, so reserve these apples for snacking.
Local bloggers weigh in with apple recipes
Portland is home to many discriminating foodies, chefs, and bloggers, many of whom love to bake and cook with apples. Sometimes the recipes they write are sweet, and sometimes they are savory. Occasionally they are both. The beauty of the apple is that it can play both roles in a kitchen. View the photos linked at the top and bottom of this article for some locally-sourced apple recipes.
Baking season is here in Portland and with so many ways to enjoy apples, why not start baking up a storm today?