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How the real Granny Smith accidentally discovered her namesake apple

The next time you take a bite from the pointy tip of a slice of apple pie, consider what makes it taste so irresistible. The key to America’s most iconic dessert lies in the unique tartness of Granny Smith apples. But how did such a popular, crisp, bright green apple get such a homely name? Fans of the chartreuse green fall fruit might be surprised that there really was a Granny Smith for which the apple was named. But she didn’t live in Pennsylvania, New York or anywhere else in the United States that is seemingly synonymous with harvesting apples. Granny Smith and her namesake apple both called a small town outside of Sydney, Australia home. As the story goes, Maria Ann Sherwood was born in 1799 in Sussex, England. At age 19, she married Thomas Smith and together had numerous children. During the colonial period of England, the government was offering incentives to any citizens willing to relocate and work its new lands. In 1830,…

Healthy Candy Corn Popsicles

It’s that time of year when the weather can swing wildly. You reach for swim suits one day and sweaters the next. When you’re mentally in the mood for fall, but temperatures aren’t quite there yet, consider bringing out the popsicle mold for one more hurrah. These cute candy corn inspired treats are perfect for those in-between weeks leading up to Halloween that are just too warm for cider or heavy sweets. And what’s better, unlike most Halloween treats, these popsicles are festive without containing any scary ingredients — nothing like traditional candy corn. Try your own yellow, orange and white recipe or check out my fall themed flavors below. This recipe isn’t overly sweet so feel free to add Stevia or another sweeter if you want more classically sweet candy corn popsicles. Healthy Candy Corn Popsicles Makes 10 popsicles Ingredients 1 cup vanilla yogurt 1 tsp cinnamon 1/2 cup frozen mango 1/2 cup fresh squash 1/2 cup orange…

Places to pick your own apples and pumpkins near Pittsburgh

Well, that was fast. Summer is officially over, and soon the air will become chilly and night longer. But while you were out having fun in the sun, local farmers were tending to their pumpkin patches and apple orchards, so they’re ready to meet the demand of the new season. If you live in the Pittsburgh area, you’re lucky to have a handful of places to pick your own (PYO) apples and pumpkins right from the farm. Many of the pick your own below farms are hosting fall festivals too, so be sure to call ahead or visit online if you want to attend on a day where your family can participate in other fall favorite activities like hayrides and corn mazes — usually held on weekends through the end of October. So grab a jug of apple cider, and head out in to a local farm for some old fashioned fall…

Global vanilla shortage will see pastry, ice cream prices soar

The world-wide vanilla shortage is coming to an ice cream cone near you. Pastry chefs and ice cream makers alike are looking to cut back overall consumption due to the rising cost of fair-trade vanilla, meaning that the recipes of our favorite summer sweets could be effected. And we have no one but ourselves to blame. The high demand from consumers, in recent years, switching to all-natural foods has caused the shortage. The problem was then compounded by major corporations like Nestle and Hershey’s that, in response to consumer demand, declared they were then switching from cheaper, chemically created synthetic versions of vanilla to all-natural varieties, too — meaning that they want vanilla from orchid seeds, and not factories. Factories can crank out the synthetic stuff around the clock, but there just aren’t enough vanilla pods in the world to meet demand. A few years ago, a 1-gallon bottle of organic, fair-trade vanilla would cost about $64 — today,…