With a recent string of 90-degree days, it doesn't exactly feel like fall yet in Southern California. But a stroll through the Hollywood Farmers' Market reveals that we are indeed transitioning to a new season. As the bounty of summer peppers and tomatoes starts to dwindle, farmers are filling baskets with the quintessential autumn fruit: the apple!We still remember the first time we tasted an apple at the farmers' market. It was a few years ago, at the Ha's Apple Farm stand. Accustomed to supermarket apples, we had come to regard the fruit as ho-hum, quite often mealy and one-dimensional. What a revelation it was to eat a crisp, aromatic, in-season apple! Now we love trying all the different varieties we can find at the farmers' market each fall. This past weekend, we saw about a dozen kinds, including Gravenstein, Red Delicious, Gala, Tsugaru, Winesap, Golden Delicious, Mutsu, Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, and Jonagold.
Sweet, tart, crisp, juicy – each variety has qualities that make it ideal for eating raw, cooked, or baked. For a chart detailing which apples to use for applesauce, pies, salads, and more, see A Guide to Fall Apples. We also recommend Amelia Saltsman's Santa Monica Farmers' Market Cookbook, which has great descriptions of apple varieties and their textures and flavors when raw and cooked.
Emily Ho is a writer, recipe developer, and educator. She lives in Los Angeles, where she teaches classes on food preservation, wild food, and herbalism. Emily is a Master Food Preserver and founder of LA Food Swap and the international Food Swap Network.
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