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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Celebrating the Empire Apple

If you are over the age of 47 then you, my dear visitor, are older than one of New York State's most famous Apples; the Empire! Why is this important? Well, it isn't really but you know me:) And, after all, The Big Apple has an orchard full of apple history. Here are a few timeline highlights.

History of the Apple in New York State
1647
Governor Peter Stuyvesant plants an apple tree from Holland on the corner of Third Avenue and 13th Street in New York City.
1700s
Colonists grow apples to produce cider, vinegar and hard cider which is used as currency.
1700s
Colonists hold apple bees to prepare apples for drying.
1730
America's first commercial apple tree nursery established in Oyster Bay, Long Island.
1741
The first commercial trade of apples from the U.S. begins on Long Island, with apples being exported to the West Indies.
1758
Newtown Pippins first grown on Long Island are sent to Benjamin Franklin in London.

Before we get to the history of the Empire Apple, which begins at the present day Cornell University in Geneva, New York, let's grab a muffin! Not just any muffin mind you. The Official New York State Apple Muffin!

While I was preparing this post, I began to wonder whether New York City's nickname; The Big Apple had anything to do with New York's long history of apple pickins. It doesn't. If not, then why? Why is New York City called The Big Apple? Perhaps the folks at Princeton University have a clue.

...Although the history of the Big Apple was once thought a mystery, research over the past two decades, primarily by amateur etymologist Barry Popik and Gerald Cohen of Missouri University of Science and Technology, has provided a reasonably clear picture of the term's history...The earliest citation for "big apple" is the 1909 book The Wayfarer in New York,by Edward Martin, writing: "Kansas is apt to see in New York a greedy city...It inclines to think that the big apple gets a disproportionate share of the national sap..."

If you get a chance, pop on over to the free book link. As a native of New York, I found The Wayfarer in New York's historical prospective quite enlightening:) I even downloaded the book so I can read it when I get a chance.

I have visited Mr. Popik's website many time through the years. If he disagrees with the coinage of this usage as a "concrete example" of the "birth" of New York City's nickname, then who am I to argue.

Barry Popik is a contributor to the Oxford English Dictionary, Dictionary of American Regional English, Historical Dictionary of American Slang, Yale Book of Quotations and Dictionary of Modern Proverbs. Since 1990 he has also been a regular contributor to Gerald Cohen's Comments on Etymology. He is recognized as an expert on the origins of the terms Big Apple, Windy City, hot dog, and many other food terms, and he is an editor of the Oxford Companion to American Food and Drink. He has over 7,000 archived posts (from 1996-2007) of commentary on Americanisms to the American Dialect Society. His website, The Big Apple, began in New York City in 2004.

He also happens to have a first hand "witness" by the name of Joe Zito to disparage any further tales.

Why Do They Call it the Big Apple?

In the early 1930s I got my first job as a rewrite man and a copy reader for the Morning Telegraph. The Telegraph at that time was situated on West 24th Street, and the site is now part of the parking lot of the huge Penn South complex.

John J. Fitz Gerald—we called him Jack—was the feature writer for the paper, and he covered the races in New York State. At that time, in addition to Belmont Park and Aqueduct, there was Jamaica Race Track, the Empire City Track up in Yonkers [now Yonkers Raceway], and of course Saratoga.

Jack was the first writer to use the term "The Big Apple" in print, maybe ten years before I started at the paper—in fact, he called his regular column "Around the Big Apple." He told us that he had heard it from the Black stable boys who followed the horses to the small quarter-mile tracks in New Orleans and all over the East and the Middle West.
They were so glad now to come to New York, where the big money was. The city was so huge to them and so full of opportunity that they called it the "Big Apple."

As a matter of fact, in recognition of John J. Fitz Gerald, the corner of 54th & Broadway, where Fitz Gerald lived for 30 years, was "christened" "Big Apple Corner" by former Mayor Rudy Giuliani in 1997. (Mr. Popik is said to be instrumental in having this accomplished)

In the Mayor's press release, we uncover another clue to the mystery.

"A decade later many jazz musicians began calling the City "The Big Apple" to refer to New York City (especially Harlem) as the jazz capital of the world. Soon the nickname became synonymous with New York City and its cultural diversity. In the early 1970's the name played an important role in reviving New York's tourist economy through a campaign led by the New York Convention and Visitors Bureau. Today the nickname "The Big Apple," which replaced "Fun City," is the international description of our city and is synonymous with the cultural and tourist attractions of New York City."

So there you have it. With a nudge from The Big Easy and the tireless promotions by Charles Gillett of Great Neck, New York, also Creator Of the 'Big Apple' Ad Campaign in the 1970s, the Empire State continues to have a glistening star in the Big Apple.

The Empire Apple

Question: What do you get when you cross pollinate a Red Delicious Apple?

With a McIntosh Apple?

Answer: The Empire Apple! The New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, New York introduced the new variety on September 15, 1966. (47 years ago today:)

What's It Like?
A wonderful blend of sweet and tart
Juicy
Very crisp, creamy white flesh
Best Uses
Excellent for eating and salads
Good for sauce, baking, pies and freezing
Special Hint
Small Empires are great for school lunches. Kids love Empire's sweet-tart taste and super crunchy texture.
Availability
September through August

I think it's time for another Apple recipe, don't you? Here's a recipe for Apple Sour Cream Coffee Cake courtesy of the Best of the Best from New York Cookbook published by Quail Ridge Press in 2001.

Just in case none of the above recipes are a-peeling, here's a recipe for Happy Rockefeller's New York State Flat Apple Pie harvested from Habilitat's Celebrity Cookbook published in 1978.

I hope you have enjoyed your visit today. I do have one more scroggling of info brought to you by The New York Historical Society. Thankfully, it's very short and you can watch it. The title is How Did New York [State] Get Its Famous Nickname? (as in Empire State:)

On a personal note, thank you all for your heart felt inquiries for my lack of posting this past Wednesday. Marion and I had a most unusual and trying few days last week. Without going into detail, suffice to say it included providing shelter for a mother and her two children while the local women's shelter found them a safe haven. We are not in the habit of doing this and I must tell you, as a volunteer at the shelter, it is not something I would recommend to those faint of heart. We did it because we had to. However, it can be very dangerous and we will not be doing it again any time soon. I thank you for your emails and I am happy to say my absence had nothing to do with Michele. As a matter of fact, Michele will be getting her last, as in final, chemo treatment this Tuesday. As you can imagine, we are cautiously elated:) Louise

P.S. Today also kicks off National Hispanic Heritage Month which runs from September 15th through October 15th each year.

"September 15th was chosen as the starting point for the celebration because it is the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. They all declared independence in 1821. In addition, Mexico, Chile and Belize celebrate their independence days on September 16, September 18, and September 21, respectively."
If you will be celebrating on your blog, I would love to know. I'm thinking about doing a quick recipe round-up in the middle of October. It would be extra special if you would include a bit of history with your recipe:)

59 comments:

  1. Hi Louise, love apples and perfect for this time of year. Interesting info you have on the Empire apple. Thanks for sharing, I always make apple pies, but use macintosh apples. I will have to try one of the recipes you posted.
    Blessings Dottie :)

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    1. Hi Dottie!

      Since Empire apples are not as popular as they use to be, not many people realize you can use them for baking. If you find them and you make apple pie, Dottie, I do hope you will share:) Thanks for visiting...

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  2. Louise, I think this post is informative and delightful. I love New York City and apples. I did not know there was such a thing as the empire apple. Is there somewhere we can order this apple online? The recipes sound so delish. I am pinning so I can make one or more. I will probably have to use other apples.
    xoginger

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    1. Hi Ginger!

      The Empire Apple is not as popular as it use to be. Shoppers are leaning more toward "gourmet" pretty apples. I am not aware of any place to order them online. I think they are also grown in Washington state but don't quote me on that. We would LOVE to know if you try any of the recipes. Thanks for Pinning it too!

      I must commend you on your recent post, Is Blogging Driving You Crazy!. I'm sure there are many bloggers who would love to chime in on whether they are pulling their hair out because of blogging, lol...

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  3. Hi Louise , what a great story about the 'Empire Apple', it's a great post and your research is so complete. I always wondered aboiut the name 'Big Apple' now I know . I'm so happy and please to know Michele is doing good , and things is getting back to normal for you .Have a nice relaxing Sunday you deserves it . Hugs to you and Marion thanks for sharing :).

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    1. Hi Nee:)

      You are so sweet. Whenever I tell Marion you send her hugs, she wants to go on the computer and visit your site. There's just one problem, her hands have been bothering her because she has been crocheting so many blankets. (actually as of this moment, she has been banned from picking up that hook of hers, lol:) So glad you enjoyed the post. It was such fun to do!

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  4. Another fun, educational post. I'm going to suggest the Knight try Empire apples. He's very picky about his apples, but this one sounds up his alley. CRISP is the most essential element for him.

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    1. If the Knight wants crisp, Channon he should definitely try the Empire!

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  5. Louise, you did a great job in researching the Big Apple story for us. Very informative and interesting. The next time I bite into an apple I will remember this apple-biography! Thanks for sharing :)

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    1. Apple-biography! That's so funny, Jenn. I never thought of it that way. I'm so glad you found this post informative. It was so much fun to do!

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  6. yeah true educational post... i learn a lot after reading it

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  7. Gosh, I'm older than the Empire! Who knew? ;-) Really fun post - I've always wondered how NYC began to be called the Big Apple, but was always too lazy to do the research. Thanks for doing it for us! Interesting stuff.

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    1. Thanks John. I've been in a NY state of mind lately so I figured it was about time I did a bit of investigating.

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  8. Hi Louise,
    I have never heard of Empire Apples! Maybe because the apples over here are all imported and we have only selected choices. Will keep a lookout for Empire Apples! And thanks for the recipes, I'm sure they make the most delicious apple desserts!
    Glad to know that all is well with you and Marion. Helping someone into your home is a wonderful thing that you have done. And it is wonderful to know that Michele is ending her chemo soon!
    Sending good wishes her way, wishing her a smooth complete recovery and good health always!

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    1. Thank you so much for all your kind words Joyce. Michele's final treatment has been delayed until next Tuesday.

      I'm not sure you will find Empire Apples by you but you can use most any cooking apple for the recipes here. Enjoy:)

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  9. An interesting and informative post about the 'Empire Apple'. Nice read!

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    1. Thanks Cheah, I'm so glad you enjoyed it:) Your Beet Chocolate Cake looks sooooo yummy!

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  10. Love, love this post and you know I love apples (all the year) in the summer hubby say why you have to buy apples when we have OTHERS fruits, well because I LOVE APPLES, love pies but Apple pies is the better:) I love the story of course I dont have idea, is fun to know!
    I will look the récipes!!! hugs dear!xo

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    1. I thought of you when I was doing this post, Gloria. I know you LOVE apples & Blueberries too, lol...If you ever come to the states, now you will know a bit more about New York too!

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  11. Hi Louise, excellent posting and I enjoyed read reading it.:) Thanks for sharing the delicious recipes, I love apple pie. :)

    Have a wonderful week ahead.

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    1. Thank you Amelia. I'm so glad you enjoyed your visit. I LOVE Apple Pie too!

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  12. You certainly are thorough, aren't you Louise!?
    I never knew that much about New York city before...
    We grow the McIntosh here in Southern Ontario...deeeelicious!
    I have THE BEST Apple recipe EVER!!!
    It is called Apple Pie Bread...AWESOME!!!
    Perhaps you can coax it out of me...:o)

    Cheers!
    Linda :o)

    ps....glad you are back...sorry about the nasty experience!

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    1. Thanks for letting me coax that Apple Pie Bread recipe out of you, Linda. I can't wait to try it, someday:)

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  13. Interesting read about all sorts of apples, Louise!

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  14. A beautiful apple I'd love to taste! I love apples, especially when used in baked goods or dishes.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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    1. Me too, Rosa. I am so ready for Apple season!

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  15. Fascinating! Glad you are back and everything is okay!

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  16. I think the apples must be late this year--still very expensive through my buying club and haven't shown up at Trader Joe's yet! I do have a few sliced and frozen from last year so I may have to do some apple muffins now to herald in the season that I am now really psyched for! Great post Louise!

    You and Marion were so kind to take in the family. But one must always consider the adage, "no good deed goes unpunished," and act with caution...

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    1. Apple season is just beginning to ripen here in PA, Inger. It won't be long now!

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  17. Yes I often wondered why it was called the Big Apple! I found your post very interesting Louise. You have a very good writing style. It was good to read about the different types of apples. In the UK it is the most popular fruit. I love apples. CIAO!

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  18. Hi Louise, Love this post as I'm an apple fan! LOL "An apple a day will make the doctor go away" that is what my dad used to say to us especially my little brother when he doesn't wanted to eat his slice of apple! LOL I'm hosting next year LTU with APPLE theme. Woild love to try out these apple recipe of yours! Not sure I can get Empire apples over here but nevertheless I would love to try out Apple Sour Cream Coffee Cake! We're huge fan of coffee cakes too! ;)

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    1. So glad you enjoyed this post Kit. Yep, the "apple a day" man sure was right about eating apples daily. Don't have to twist my arm either, lol...I'm sure you could try that Apple Sour Cream Coffee Cake with any good cooking apple. Please let us know if you do.

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  19. I eat two apples every day. Right now, my apple of choice is the Gala apple. Love your varying histories of NYC's nickname. We'll never get anyone to agree completely, will we? But I suppose that's the fun of life.

    Glad to hear that Michele is nearing the end of chemo. Here's hoping for years of remission for her!

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    1. Two apples, Marjie. That's wonderful! I enjoy Gala apples too. I'm patiently waiting for Apple season to arrive. They are slowly hitting the stands down here.

      Yes, Michele is nearing her final treatment. (it was postponed last week) Years of remission is what we are all praying for:)

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  20. Oh, how I love apple baked goods! Just eyeballing your featured recipes made my mouth water. And what fun trivia about the Empire apple...I had no idea it was a cross between a red delicious and macintosh! Have a wonderful week, Louise.

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    1. Apple season is coming fast, Liz. I'm soooooo ready!

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  21. Wow- what an informative post on the Empire Apple. They sound absolutely delicious. Thanks for sharing some apple recipes - I need to try the muffins:)

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    1. You really do need to try those muffins, Geraldine. They are Yummy!

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  22. Dear Louise, It is very interesting how NY got its nickname and that LI was the first commercial trade of apples.
    I really enjoyed the recipes though.
    Have a beautiful week dear friend. Blessings and always in my prayers. Catherine xo

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    1. It was a fun post to explore, Catherine. I knew a little of this and a little of that and I just put it all together:)

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  23. You're kidding me?? I can now proudly announced that I'm older than the Empire! Errr.... or should I not be proud? Lol! This is certainly a cute post, Louise!

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  24. great news about michelle and your work at the shelter sounds courageous and compassionate

    and I love this post - am not sure I have ever seen an empire apple but I do have a soft spot for apple history and might be so bold as to link to this post

    lastly, is an apple bee like a working bee - could I use it when I stew apples :-)

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    1. Thanks Johanna. I'm so glad you enjoyed this post. An Apple Bee is like a sewing bee where a group of people, usually women get together to string and dry apple slices. Be bold and link! It would be my honor:)

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  25. while i can't say apples are my favorite fruit to eat, i think they're my favorite with which to work! :)

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    1. One of my all time favorite fruits to celebrate Grace; the Apple!

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  26. I am so ready to start baking with apples again. The coffee cake recipe already has me swooning. And speaking of New York State apples, wait until you read my post for Edible Long Island tomorrow on Apple George!

    Kudos to you and Marion - you are amazing in every way!

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    1. Ah gee, T.W. I'm blushing:) Your article on Apple George was simply wonderful. It made me a bit home sick though:)

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  27. Despite my advanced age, I have never heard of the Empire apple, but I think it's a regional thing. Until recently the MacIntosh wasn't available in our area at all. I must say that those muffins sound delicious. I'm sure I could substitute with Jonathons.

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  28. So does that make the Empire apple old enough to be eaten on the Paleo diet? (Excuse me, but I think that a lot of what I read about the Paleo diet is very ignorant.)

    Fun to read all those apple recipes! I should make some.

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  29. What a coincidence Louise! I am talking about the apples too in my post but from the Greek mythology perpective! I really enjoyed your article and read all this info you collected for us! Thank you for sharing all this!

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  30. Akkkk, I am not sure I want to be older than an apple but fun read :-) And one can never have too many apple recipes. Clarice

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  31. hi louise, sorry i'm late! i heard of big apples but didnt know that it actually associates with ny city..love apples!! although i used them quite a lot in baking, i will hv to tell you that i enjoy more than eating apples just like that :) i am smiling reading the comment above me..i'm younger than apple :D

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  32. Love your post, Louise, as always. I had never heard of an apple bee before, either, but now I want to look into it. You come up with the most amazingly fun facts! I'm so glad to hear that Michele is done with her chemo treatments. I was busy this summer cooking for a loved one from some how-to-eat-when-you're-going-through-cancer books. Have you ever cooked from those? Fascinating to realize how certain foods can address specific health issues/side effects, etc. Not anything we want to learn, of course, but good to know about when needed. May Michele enjoy good health oozing out of every pore for many, many months and years to come.

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    1. Awe gee, thanks, Lynn...Yes, I bought Michele a couple of "those" books while she was going through her treatments. They were helpful but she is such a finicky eater, I'm not sure how much help they were for her. I have always found it quite fascinating how foods can be used for medical issues especially herbs. Thanks Lynn. she really is doing very well. We have much to be Thankful for this year. Thank you so much for visiting:)

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Through this wide opened gate,
none came to early,
none returned to late.

Thanks for dropping in...Louise