Smaller crop but still red and delicious
New Hampshire celebrates apple season
By Susan Reilly firstname.lastname@example.org
Fall in southern New Hampshire is all about apples.
While it is all well and good to pick up a tote bag of apples from your local farm stand, it is another thing to hike out into an orchard and pick your own. But if the thought of apple-picking only conjures up memories of a third-grade field trip to the local orchard, think again.
Apple-picking is the simplest way to get your hands on fresh-from-the-tree goods. With apple-=picking, even the less gorgeous pieces of fruit can still be yummy and useful.
At Apple Hill Farm in Concord, Macs and Cortlands are being picked. Pies, baked on the premises, are a mixture of the two apples.
“The orchard is a wonderful place to be at this time of the year,” said Hunt, a long time employee.
This year’s crop is bittersweet. Hunt explained that while the yield is down due to stunted pollination because of the Mother’s Day weekend floods, the apples that they do have are gorgeous and very tasty.
“Everything that is coming off the trees is beautiful,” Hunt said.
In Merrimack, Trudy Currier says that apples this year have more scabs than in the past. Scabs are tiny black dots on the exterior that occur due to all of the wet weather in spring.
“The apples did not have a chance to dry out, so the dots appear. It is nothing more than an aesthetic thing,” said Currier, owner of Currier Orchards.
Like Apple Hill, Currier Orchards has rows of Macs and Cortlands, the most common apples for southern New Hampshire, and ready-to-bake pies — and, every Saturday, fresh pressed cider.
If you can’t make it out to a local orchard to pick your own, stop by a farm stand and grab a tote bag. At Depot Farm Stand in Merrimack, apples are picked daily and ready for sale.
Stephanie Roth, daughter of the owners, explained that there is a lot of apple traffic because of their DW Highway location.
“We sell tons of apples, which are brought in daily from a local orchard,” she said.
Depot Farm Stand also sells apple crisp, apple bread and a wide selection of apple pies, such as apple raspberry and apple pecan, all homemade.
• When cooking fresh apples for pies or sauces, the yield is approximately 50 percent of the uncooked amount so 1 pound raw equals 1/2 pound cooked.
• Apples absorb odors. They emit ethylene gas, which causes other fruit to ripen more quickly. Store apples at 35 degrees F, 80 percent humidity to prevent dehydration.
• Apples, like pears and potatoes, that are dropped in cold, lightly salted water as they are peeled will retain their color.
Best for eating: Red Delicious, McIntosh, Granny Smith, Empire, and Golden Delicious.
• Best for pies and applesauce: use tart or slightly acid varieties, the firmer the better — Rome Beauty, Northern Spy, Rhode Island Greening, Winesap, and York Imperial. — Facts from Food Reference
Pick your own
• Apple Hill Farm (580 Mountain Road, Concord, 224-8862) Hours vary, call ahead. www.applehillfarmnh.com
• Brookdale Fruit Farm (38 Broad St., Hollis, 465-2241) Open daily 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. www.brookdalefarms.com
• Currier Orchards (9 Peaslee Road, Merrimack, 881-8864) Open weekends, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; weekdays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Cider pressing on weekends
• Elwood Orchards (54 Elwood Road, Londonderry, 434-6017) Open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Harvest hayrides.
• Sunnycrest Farm Inc. (59 High Range Rd, Londonderry, 432-7753).