Fall’s here and soups, salads and hearty meals are now on the menu, chock full of delicious.
An array of vegetables are at their best at this time of year. Fill your basket with squash, pumpkins, garlic, mushrooms, beets, potatoes, cabbage and many other foods that ripen in the fall.
Many fruits are also ready to be enjoyed now. Don’t forget to head to your nearest orchard for
If you’d prefer not to do the cooking yourself, head to a local restaurant. Many are highlighting the best that autumn has to offer in their seasonal menus.
This fall, indulge in the amazing goods that you’ll find at the market, the farm, the grocery store and your local eateries. Bon appetit!
How to pick apples like a pro: tips for visiting the orchard
October is National Apple Month, and there couldn’t be a better time to visit your favorite orchard. Are you ready to pick some apples? Make the most of your next visit with these tips.
• Do some investigating. Conduct a bit of research to find the orchard that can provide you with the experience you’re looking for. Do you prefer to pick organically grown apples? Are your kids eager to try a hay maze and tractor ride? Or perhaps you’d like to have a nice lunch first? Each orchard offers different activities, so find the one that best meets your needs.
• Decide how you’ll use your apples. Determine ahead of time what you’d like to do with your apples and choose the right type for your purposes. For example, Granny Smith and Cortland are best for making pie, McIntosh and Golden Delicious are ideal for cooking apple sauce and Honeycrisp and Gala are perfect for snacking on.
• Choose your fruit wisely. Always opt for shiny, blemish-free apples, and remember to be gentle when picking fruit off the branch. Simply point the apple towards the sky and twist. Never shake the tree and definitely avoid collecting fruit that’s fallen on the ground.
• Bring a little extra spending money. Apples aren’t the only thing for sale at the orchard. Bring some extra cash for buying apple cider doughnuts, fresh-pressed apple juice, apple butter and any other apple infused goodies.
Back at home, it’s important to store your apples properly. Keep those that will be eaten right away in a bowl and store the rest in their own drawer in the fridge. Apples produce ethylene gas, which is harmless but makes other fruits and vegetables ripen faster.
A brief introduction to canning
Do you have more produce on hand than you know what to do with? If so, canning is a great way to make sure your food keeps all winter long.
Preparing food for canning
Here are some ways of preparing produce before it goes bad.
• Cooking. Turn your fruit into jam, make tomato sauce or blanch your vegetables before canning them.
• Pickling. Vinegar helps produce become acidic enough to be canned in a water bath. Try cucumbers, carrots, green beans or even peaches in a brine of vinegar and water.
Methods of canning
Home canning involves using sealed glass jars to conserve your food. There are a couple of ways to do this.
• Water bath canning. This method uses boiling water to heat jars and seal them. Only foods with high acidity like berries, pickles and tomatoes can be safely canned this way.
• Pressure canning. This technique involves using high temperatures to can meat and vegetables that aren’t acidic enough to be safely water canned. You’ll need a pressure canner, which is similar to a pressure cooker.
No matter what canning method you use, make sure to sterilize your jars and always use rings that are free of rust and lids that are brand new.
Maple syrup makes this subtle twist on a fall classic an instant crowd pleaser.
Start to finish: 1 hour and 15 minutes (30 minutes active)
• 7 Cortland apples, peeled and diced
• 1/3 cup brown sugar
• 1/3 cup maple syrup
• 1tablespoon lemon juice
• 1teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 2 cups quick-cook rolled oats
• 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 cup brown sugar
• 1 cup softened butter
1. Preheat the oven to 350 °F and butter a 9×13-inch baking dish.
2. In a bowl, mix all the ingredients for the filling and transfer to the baking dish.
3. In another bowl, combine all the ingredients for the crumble topping.
4. Cover the apple mixture with the crumble topping, taking care to cover completely.
5. Bake for 45 minutes or until the apples are tender and the topping is golden brown. Let cool, then serve and enjoy.
For a dessert that’s ultra-decadent, serve hot with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
The ABCs of IPAs
Of the myriad varieties of craft beer, none are more popular than IPAs. Here’s what’s so special about this trendy brew.
What is an IPA?
To put it simply, an India pale ale is a beer made with a ton of hops. The abundance of this flavoring agent provides a distinct bitterness, which is usually complemented by citrusy, fruity, floral, earthy or piney notes — or some combination of these flavors.
There are a number of IPA types, but the two most popular in North America are East Coast IPAs and West Coast IPAs.
West Coast IPAs
These beers are known for being intensely, unapologetically bitter. Washington is hops central, and West Coast brewers love to load up their brews with this state’s diverse and flavorful hop varieties.
In the Northwest, the beers have earthy and piney notes. But as you move further south, fruity, citrusy flavorings rule the day.
East Coast IPAs
These brews are more well-rounded than their West Coast cousins. They have a stronger malt component, which balances out the hops, and the bitter notes aren’t as dominant.
The quintessential East Coast IPA is the New England style IPA, which is cloudy and has a smooth, creamy mouthfeel. Typically, this beer’s flavor profile is enhanced with citrusy notes.
If you’re a newcomer to IPAs, it’s best to order an East Coast IPA for your first pint. This way you won’t be too overwhelmed by the hops. Cheers!
A guide to visiting microbreweries
If you’re a fan of craft beer, chances are you’d have a great time visiting a microbrewery. Most offer tours that give you the opportunity to see first-hand how they make their beer and to sample their offerings straight from the source.
Planning your visit
Many microbreweries have designated visiting hours and offer tours at specific times. Generally, you can find this information on their websites and book your visit by phone or email.
Some smaller microbreweries don’t have formal visiting hours, but often you can set up a tour by getting in touch with them.
What to expect
During the tour, you’ll learn about the brewery’s history and its particular brewing methods. Typically, the tour ends in the tasting room, where you get to sample the brewery’s beers right out of the fermentation tanks.
Want to take some of that freshly brewed beer home? Many microbreweries are happy to sell you beer by the growler (a big transportable jug that holds four pints).
Usually, the microbrewery will sell growlers on site, but you can also bring your own.
Growler beers should be opened within a week, then consumed within a day or two.
After the tour
A number of microbreweries have their own brewpub on site. You’ll be able to grab a bite and enjoy a freshly brewed pint or two. Bottoms up!
Maple garlic kefta kebab
Looking for something a bit different for your next barbecue? Try kefta, a type of Middle Eastern street food.
Start to finish: 20 minutes
• 1 pound ground pork
• 1 pound ground veal
• 2 green onions, finely chopped
• 1 egg
• 3 tablespoons breadcrumbs
• 3 tablespoons maple syrup
• 1 teaspoon garlic salt
• Salt and pepper to taste
• Wood skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes
1. In a bowl, thoroughly mix all ingredients.
2. Divide the mixture into 8 portions. Shape each portion into a tube around one of the skewers.
3. Preheat the barbecue to medium heat.
4. Grill the kefta for about 2 minutes on each side, until browned.
5. Transfer to top grill to finish cooking. Serve either wrapped in pita bread with a yogurt dressing or on top of a salad.
If you don’t have wooden skewers on hand, you can form the mixture into burger patties instead!