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The unseasonably warm weather has continued into mid-October and I am not complaining about it at all. It has been a wet and warm spell for several weeks now and many garden plants continue to grow. I am hoping to get a very good harvest of beets from the seed I planted on July 22, right after I harvested my garlic crop. I planted carrots on Aug. 15 and it does not look like they will reach harvestable size anytime soon, but perhaps if this warm spell continues, I may still get a decent harvest by mid-November. Right now is the best time to plant garlic for next season. Remember that the bigger the cloves you plant, the bigger the bulbs you will harvest next July. Garlic prefers rich, well drained, fertile, soil so take the time to till and add organic fertilizer now.My grandson, Danny, dug some of my potatoes this past weekend and I was dismayed to see that about one-third of them had damage from either mice, voles or chipmunks. We cut off the damaged parts and had “Grand Bob’s roasted potatoes” as a side dish for dinner. Slice the potatoes thinly, and layer in an aluminum pan. Sprinkle olive oil on each layer and season with salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder. Bake at 400 degrees till they are soft, or broil a single layer of very thin slices for the best potato chips you will ever eat. If you have never eaten freshly dug potatoes, you are missing a treat.The potatoes that “volunteered” this season from overlooked, unharvested, potatoes I had planted in 2020 produced some really huge “lunkers.” Planting, or neglecting to harvest whole potatoes, results in “volunteers” that are often huge in size, but few in number. Planting smaller cut pieces of potatoes usually results in more, but smaller, tubers. A couple of these “volunteers” weighed almost a pound each. This fall I will try to make sure I dig them all but I try to do that every year and usually fail.The rest of this week’s column comes from Ulster County Cooperative Extension. I rarely include recipes in these columns, but this week is an exception on two counts.Did you know apples are the official fruit of New York state? Celebrate our official state fruit during Apple Month. Zestar and SnapDragon are two newer varieties you can find in supermarkets, and at farm stands and farmers’ markets. Zestar is zesty with a nice crunch and SnapDragon was developed by Cornell University and is sweeter with a ‘monster crunch.’Are you interested in taking your family apple picking? Use this link https://www.applesfromny.com/find-apples/pick-your-own-apples/ to find a U-Pick farm near you. Be sure to check with the farm about their hours and COVID restrictions before going to pick apples. One large apple has 130 calories, 20% of your daily fiber needs, no sodium, fat or added sugars and is easy to take anywhere and eat for a snack.Here are some fun apple facts from the New York Apple Association: Apples are a member of the rose family of plants, along with pears, plums, peaches and cherries. It takes about 36 apples to make one gallon of apple cider. Apples float because 25% of their volume is air. The world’s largest apple peel was created by Kathy Wafler Madison on Oct. 16, 1976, in Rochester, N.Y. It was 172 feet 4 inches long. (She was 16 years old at the time, and grew up to be a sales manager for an apple tree nursery.) (Source: Guinness World Records)Taste test apples with your children. At the farmers’ market, farm stand or local supermarket, choose 2-3 different varieties of apples to try. Once you get home, wash and slice each apple. As a group, try one apple variety at a time and decide which apple is your family favorite.Microwave Applesauce serves 7 Serving size: half cupIngredients: 6 apples, peeled, cored and quartered or chopped (about 8 cups) 1/4 cup water 1/4 cup sugar (or less to taste) 1/4 teaspoon cinnamonDirections: 1. Place apples and water in a 2 quart microwave safe dish. Cover with microwave-safe cover. 2. Cook on high for 10 to 12 minutes or until the apples are soft enough to mash. 3. Use a potato masher or fork to make chunky applesauce. 4. Add the sugar a little at a time to reach desired sweetness. Add cinnamon. 5. Serve warm or chilled. Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours.
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