Adventures at Long Island's apple orchards

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Use McIntosh or Cortland for baking. Cortlands are a favorite cooking apple because their sweetness comes through so that less sugar is needed. They are also great in salads and even good to eat in their natural state.
Rome and Empire are also suited for baking, as are Fuji, Crispin and Ginger Gold. In pies, a mix of varieties is sure to bring out the best flavor. Try Crispin, Cortland, Rome, Granny Smith, and Northern Spy.
For applesauce, try the Paula Red.
And, of course, growers are pressing those delicious batches of cider throughout fall, and urge everyone to continue to “buy local.”
“Apples grown locally taste better, are more crunchy and fresh and leave a smaller “carbon footprint” since they travel shorter distances to market, helping the environment,” Allen says.
After you get home with that precious bounty, make some yummy apple treats.

Caramel Apples
1 bag caramels
2 tablespoons water
Red Delicious apples
Handle sticks

1. Melt the bag of caramel and water in a microwave pan. Microwave on high for 3-4 minutes. Or, allow about 20 minutes to melt caramels in a 1 1/2 quart saucepan over a conventional range top. Stir caramel gently with a wooden spoon when it starts to melt.
2.Wash and dry the apples thoroughly. Insert handle sticks in top of apple and remove excess juice on the apple.
3. Dip the apple in the caramel, place on waxed paper and chill in refrigerator. Enjoy!

Apple Cranberry Pie
Pastry crust for a 9-inch 2-crust pie
4 cups sliced, pared tart apples
2 cups fresh cranberries
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter

1. Preheat oven to 425° F. Prepare pastry. In a large bowl, stir together sugars, flour and cinnamon. Add apples and cranberries. Mix to coat well.
2. Turn into pastry-lined pie pan. Dot with butter. Cover with top crust. Cut slits into crust and seal and flute edges. Bake 40-50 minutes until top is golden. Cool.

Official New York State Apple Muffin
2 cups New York State Empire apples, coarsely chopped
2 cups flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons bakings soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup walnuts
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