A fruit grown throughout the world in temperate climates for at least 3,000 years, there are now thousands of varieties from yellow to green to red, tender to crisp, sweet to tart and simple to complex. The apple tree and pear tree are related to each other--They are both part of the rose family. "Baking" apples are varieties that hold up well when cooked and don't turn mushy. Good baking apples are:
Rome Beauty (Queen of the bakers because cooking accentuates its flavor)
Golden Delicioius (holds it's shape well, unlike Red Delicious which should not be used for baking)
Granny Smith (tart and tangy)
Cortland (good sweet tart balance)
Pippin (good sweet tart balance)
Winesap (tangy, winelike)
Season: October - December
How to select: Available year round from storage, but high season is at harvest (September to November). Select firm, smooth skinned apples, free from bruises. For cooking or baking use: baldwin, cortland, northern spy, rome beauty, winesap, and york imperial.
How to store: In a cool dark place or in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for months, though they may get a bit mealy.
Matches well with: almonds, bacon, blackberries, blue cheese, brandy, brown sugar, butter, Calvados, caramel, celery, cheese, cider, cinnamon, cloves, Cognac, coriander, cranberries, cream, currants, custard, dates, ginger, hazelnuts, honey, horseradish, lemon, maple syrup, nutmeg, nuts, oatmeal, oranges, pears, pepper, pine nuts, pistachios, pralines, raisins, rosemary, rum, sauerkraut, sausages, sour cream, sugar, vanilla, walnuts, yogurt
Substitutions: 1 cup chopped apples = 1 cup chopped firm pears + 1 tbsp lemon juice; 1 cup chopped apples = 1 cup dried apples, reconstitued; 6 tart apples = 2 (20 oz) cans sliced pie apples, drained