Make the most of what's in season
By Michelle Blackley Glynn
When October rolls into Western New York, it brings with it warm sunrays, crisp air and a bountiful harvest. There is a sense of nostalgia, getting back to routines and comfort that only a knit sweater and nature's sweet bounty can bring.
By the end of the month, residents and visitors will be delighted by the sights of a dotted colorful landscape. In the meantime, everyone is able to visit local farmers and take in the activities, sights, sounds and tastes that only this region can offer.
Come October, Western New York is probably best known for its apples - more than many know what to do with. Whether it's a snack, cider or dessert, there is a type of apple for everything. They are healthy, inexpensive, have a long shelf life and are easy to find.
Empire, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Crispin, Ida Red, Honeycrisp Apples, McIntosh, Cortland and Gala apples are all ready to be picked. But where to pick them and what to do once the overflowing bushels come home?
When it comes to eating apples raw, sweeter varieties such as the Empire and Honeycrisp are great; however, if you plan to cook with them - combinations of crisp and tart work well.
Here is a guide of where to find or pick apples this season.
•McIntosh, Cortland and Gala apples - Goodman Farm Market (2227 Cayuga Drive Ext., Niagara Falls)
•Honeycrisp Apples -Wagner's Farm Market (2672 Lockport Road, Sanborn)
•Becker Farms (3724 Quaker Road, Gasport) Pick dates by weekend:
· Oct. 22-23 - Empire, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Crispin and Ida Red
· Oct. 29-30 - Crispin & Ida Red
Not all apples are good for desserts. The best baking apples offer skin that does not fall apart in the oven. Here is one simple dessert recipe that showcases the Crispin, a firm-fleshes, less tart option that is similar in flavor to a Golden Delicious.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spread the apples in an 8-inch square pan.
Mix the water, cinnamon and salt together, and sprinkle on top of the apples.
Place the sugar, flour, butter and lemon juice in a bowl. Work together with a pastry blender until crumbly.
Spread crumb mixture over apples.
Bake uncovered about 40 minutes.
Best served warm.
Michelle Blackley Glynn is the owner/chief creative officer at Full Plate Publicity and adjunct instructor at Niagara University and Buffalo State College. She is also the host of "Pearls, Plates & Planes" on LCTV. Find her on Twitter @shellblackley.