Ingredient Spotlight: Gravenstein Apples

They're only here for a few short weeks, but Gravenstein apples are worth the wait. Have you ever tried one?

People love Gravenstein apples because of their perfectly balanced flavor (Sweet! But, wait: tart!) and versatility as a great baking and cooking apple. From applesauce and apple cake to plain old school lunches, Gravensteins deliver. In fact, folks in my neck of the woods have an entire fair devoted to them and I'll admit to going and eating an apple fritter (or two). This week, my favorite San Francisco pie shop is featuring a vegan Gravenstein pie. I've got to figure out a way to get down there before it's gone.

That's the beauty of the Gravenstein: they don't keep well at all and the season's incredibly short, so there's a certain urgency about them. They usually make an appearance in the Bay Area in early-mid August, but their harvesting times vary, so you're never quite sure until you see them popping up at the farmers markets. All I know is that, this week, we're all abuzz about apples. They have arrived, and they won't be here long.

While they're largely a West Coast phenomenon, recipes celebrating the Gravenstein are equally fabulous with many other apple varieties. We're not quite ready to put away our summer canning jars, but we'll admit to flirting with Gravensteins this week. You should, too. Here are a few of our favorite ways:

Gravenstein Apple Pie with Millet Crust from Delicious Living
Easy Gravenstein Apple Sauce from Emily Luchetti
Apple Skillet Cake from King Arthur Flour
Apple Butter from Simply Recipes
Free Form Apple Tart from The Kitchn

Related: Red Through and Through: the Redlove Era Apple

(Images: The Fruit Guys; Slow Food USA)