In Season: Apples

Fall is the season for apple picking, and we New Englanders love nothing better than an afternoon in the orchards!  I have wonderful childhood memories of apple picking with my family, and now it is something I look forward to doing each year with my own children.  I love walking around the orchard, comparing the different varieties of apples, conducting on-the-spot taste tests, and watching my children enjoy themselves as much as I did as a kid. 

The best part of apple picking is that the fun continues beyond the orchard.  On our most recent excursion we debated what we’d do with our huge harvest.  I wanted to make a big batch of applesauce to serve alongside pulled pork at an upcoming football party.  My four year old insisted that we make apple strudel (I didn’t even know she knew the word “strudel”).  My six year old with the sweet tooth suggested that we stick to apple pie and caramel apples.  It was an ambitious agenda, but then again, we had a lot of apples. 

In the end, we’ll end up making all of these things, and also a variation on my mother’s recipe for Apple Crisp.  In an effort to cut back on sugar, fat, and calories, I’ve lightened it up considerably by slashing the amounts of sugar and butter in the original recipe.  Keep in mind, this is certainly not health food, but it is much lower in sugar and fat than most desserts you’d purchase at a bakery or store.

One note about cooking with apples:  it is important not to use the super-sweet varieties you’d choose for eating (like Red Delicious).  According to The Cooks Thesaurus, the best apples for baking and pies are the firm, slightly tart varieties like  Northern Spy, Golden Delicious, Rhode Island Greening, Pippin, Granny Smith, Pink Lady, Gravenstein, Rome, Jonagold, Gala, Braeburn, York Imperial, Cortland, or Winesap. Applesauce is best made with softer apples, like McIntosh, Elstar, Fuji, or Gala. Those of you who’d prefer just to crunch apples on their own should try Gala, Fuji, Mutsu, Jonathan, Cameo, Golden Delicious, Cortland, Empire, Red Delicious, McIntosh, Braeburn, Winesap, Pink Lady, and Sundowner, which are all great eating apples.

Apple picking is a great way to spend a day with your family or friends…and the possibilities in the kitchen are endless!  How do you like them apples?

Apple Crisp with Almonds

Serves  6-8                                                                         

7-8 apples, peeled and sliced    

1/3 cup sugar

1teaspoon cinnamon     

1 tablespoon lemon juice

For crumb topping:

3/4  cup quick oats

½ cup sugar

3 tablespoons flour

3  tablespoons butter, melted         

3 tablespoons almonds       

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Toss together the filling ingredients in a bowl.

 Spray a 9×12 baking pan with non-stick cooking spray, and pour the contents of the bowl into it.

In a small bowl, mix together the ingredients for the topping with a fork and crumble on top of fruit. 

Bake for 35 minutes until filling is hot and bubbly and topping is golden brown.

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One Response to “In Season: Apples”

  1. Season To Taste » Finding a Food Mill Says:

    […] children apple picking every fall, for some reason I have never made applesauce with them.  Pies, crisps and turnovers seemed to take precedence each year.  This year, I decided that it was the year for […]

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