I’m not sure about many of you but there are many traditions that begin in the Fall. We, those who live in New England, begin to see a season change. As the temperatures get cooler the leaves turn amazing colors and we experience probably one of the most beautiful times of the year. Along with a season change comes harvesting. The last of the corn, vegetables, pumpkins and apples get picked as we get ready for winter. These will be used in many recipes as Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa finish out 2014.
Apple picking is a wonderful tradition seen in many parts of New England. We can travel 1-2 hours or we can drive 20 minutes to a local farm called C.N. Smith to get plenty of this delicious fruit. Arriving at each farm and seeing the orchards, the baked goods and hayrides available make for a wonderful trip. Like most, we get so excited about being at the orchard. First, we have to figure out what kind of apples we will pick: Delicious, McIntosh, Granny, Jonagold, Honeycrisp, Cortland, Braeburn. There are so many choices. Then, we have to figure out how we will use them. Are we eating them as a snack? Or, are we cooking with them? As we walk amongst the trees, we are plotting…OK, let’s make some applesauce, maybe an apple crisp, we definitely want to make an apple pie and oh, what about apple muffins! Then you pick so many apples you don’t know what to do with them. Normally within two weeks we are burned out on apples, but we do recuperate with apple recipes throughout the season. Of course, as you leave the farm, you have to get a big gallon jug of apple cider. It is really the only time of year when it is fresh and delicious. The window of opportunity is from now until Thanksgiving, when you will probably sip your final glass…until the following year.
One recipe we love making after going apple picking is our Disappearing Apple Crisp. It was a recipe we stumbled upon years ago. It originally had a crust on the bottom but we found that people liked it better as a crisp. It’s easy to make and if you want to be creative, you can add raisins or fresh raspberries to the dish. This dessert disappears quickly, whether the day you make it or the following morning as we found our kids warming it for breakfast. The rational? “Mom, it has fruit and oatmeal.” Suggestion: make two dishes – serve the first to family and friends then, hide the second to enjoy by yourself when no one is around!
Even though we are into the first weekend in October, many places have apple picking until October 31st. If you are from the New England area, here is a great guide for apple picking: Boston.com Apple Picking Guide. We would suggest calling ahead.
If you have any stories or recipes to share, please leave a comment. We’d love to hear from you!