For many of us, fall means the best food of the year. Cooking hearty vegetables like pumpkin, sweet potatoes, and Brussels sprouts are deliciously fine when cooler weather strikes, but we often forget about the fruits of fall. Fall is when the two most widely known fruits of the season, apples and pears, are at their best. We wanted to get to the core of these fruits and give you even more ideas to add to your fall recipe arsenal.
Before overly sugared candy was commercialized, apples were nature’s cure for the sweetest tooth. Fall apples are sweet, honey-like, and just tart enough to keep them interesting. With so many varieties, they are versatile enough to accompany cheese plates, salads, cooked with meats, stews, or veggies, and of course, baked and sugared. A few of the best varieties to include in this fall’s meals:
Easily found in nearly any supermarket, Golden Delicious apples are among the most interchangeable of the apple bunch. They are sweet and hold up well when cooked, making them ideal to pair with vegetable side dishes, or to use when baking sweets. They are generally better for cooking than eating on their own and are perfect for the quintessential fall dessert, baked apples.
A relativity new and often pricey variety, the Honey Crisp has become a favorite for simply munching on its own. Many Honey Crisp followers don’t mind the sticker price because they are truly so good. The reasons behind the costs include the advanced trellis system used for the fragile trees, higher paid workers because Honey Crisps need to be trimmed slowly (workers are paid by the hour and not by the basket weight), and the fact that the skin bruises more easily, necessitating more packaging when shipped. These sweeties are of course great on their own, but also add dynamic flavor to cheese plates and sandwiches, pair well with fall herbs like sage and thyme, making them perfect in a turkey sausage. They also sweeten up homemade flavored water, and showcase their honey flavor best when simply sliced (add caramel, honey or nut butter to make this a fancy treat!)
These lovely ladies are tangy, sweet and a great size for a child’s snack. They are sturdy enough for cooking and baking and add a sweet/tart kick to pork and sweet potatoes dishes. Pink Ladies are stars to bake with and puree for autumn soups.
This old lady had been around since the mid-1800’s. Granny Smiths are known for their extremely tart and assertive flavor. They are available year-round, however are best in fall. Their tartness is due to the fact that they are descended from the sour crabapple. Granny Smith is in fact a real person, an Australian apple cultivator who began growing the tart apple orchards. Granny Smiths are great cooked in savory dishes (when cooked they loose some their tartness) or baked in sweets like pies, where they hold their own against heavy pastry and spices.
The pear was considered the “the gift of the Gods” by Greek poet Homer in the Odyssey and it is easy to see why. When fall arrives pears are the fruit to truly celebrate the season. It is rare that you find someone biting into a pear out-of-season. Pears are simply best in autumn when they are soft, ripe, sweetest, and comforting. Although they do not receive as much attention as apples, we like making the fancy pear the un-sung hero of many dishes. With their unique texture, soft skin, woodsy sweetness, versatile and ease there is simply nothing that com-pears!
One of the prettiest fall pear varieties, Red Anjou deep maroon color instantly gets us in the mood for fall. The flavor of these beauties is much like their Green Anjou counterparts: they are one of the sweetest kinds of pear and do well eaten alone, as an accompaniment to bread and cheeses, or raw in salads. They are also a fall favorite centerpiece!
Long and lean in shape, Bosc pears are sweet with firm flesh. The firm flesh allows these tall fellas to hold up well with cooked vegetable dishes and dark meats. They are also great with nuts and more assertive cheeses, like chevre or bleu cheese. Bosc pears are perfect for poaching, an addition to grilled cheese, making ice cream, and pair well with bourbon.
Truly only found it the fall and winter, this pear is one to enjoy when it is here. Taylor’s Gold pears are among the sweetest and juiciest available. They are described as “The Cadillac of pears” by their specailty growers on Webster Farm (Oregon) for their delicious readiness. These sweet guys are best pureed for a pear sauce, or sliced in salads. Taylor Gold sweetness is also ideal for fall tarts, pies, or a cinnamon and pear ice cream.
Small, yes but certainly not in flavor! These pears are anything but puny when it comes to taste. Forelle pears taste like honey with a cinnamon flavor. The name come from the German word “trout,” given to them for their colorful trout-like peel colors. Forelle pears are best with fall spices, like star anise and cardamom, and do great in spiced cakes, and even cocktails. They are also superstars with tart citrus flavors and spicy greens, like arugula.
Celebrate fall with any of the apple or pears and let us know your favorite variety and best way to enjoy them!