BY DEBRA J. MORRIS
The flavors of fall are now arriving at your local farmers’ market ! September is the best time of year to enjoy late summer’s produce, while discovering the bounty that early fall brings. Your farmers are bringing the last of the peaches and nectarines, summer squash, and berries, while others are bringing the first apples, pears, grapes, winter squash, and figs. September also brings a fresh crop of fall artichokes, wonderful baby Brussels sprouts, beautiful leafy greens, and acorn, butternut, and kabocha squash. You’ll find the last of the green beans and peppers, while uncovering the first persimmons and pomegranates. What a perfect time of year!
Best of all, this is the perfect time to get out the canning jars and preserve some of the season’s amazing flavors. Make a batch of berry or peach jam, grab a big bag of pickling cucumbers and make your own dill pickles, or blend up some fresh apple or pear sauce.
Get to your farmers’ market this month to find sweet Bartlett pears from Alhambra Valley Pears & Beef from their ranch in Martinez, juicy stone fruit and melons from J&J Ramos Farms out of Hughson, crisp green beans and pickling cucumbers from J&M Farms of Turlock, crunchy apples from Smit Farms in Linden, and luscious strawberries from Rodriguez Ranch of Watsonville. Make some jam, a batch of dill pickles, or some pepper jelly. They have the best produce they can grow, bringing it straight to you each week.
You can’t beat the quality and freshness of farmers’ market produce. You’ll find varieties you won’t find at the supermarket and you’ll actually know where your food comes from!
Easy Chunky Cinnamon Applesauce
18 cups chopped peeled apples (Smit Farms)
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup sugar, more or less to taste (1-2/4 cups for 2 batches)
3 teaspoons cinnamon
Peel, core, chop apples. Add to pot with water and lemon juice. Cover and cook 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender. Add cinnamon and sugar. Cook until sugar dissolves. Fill sterilized jars, add sterilized lids and rings; process 20 minutes for pints, 30 minutes for quarts.