It’s fall and time for all of those outdoor fall activities that my family and I love! If you are a Northeast girl like me, than you know that September and October bring fall festivals, apple picking, pumpkin picking and the most perfect sweatshirt weather imaginable. My lil’ Jojo shares my love for the outdoors, so naturally as soon as we welcomed the fall season, we were out and about picking apples at a local farm with friends and family, and driving out east to pick the next great pumpkin with Jojo’s BFF :).
There are few better ways to spend time as a family, than outdoors watching your energetic, almost-two year old run, jump, roll and apple/pumpkin pick himself into a “nap-coma”. You will undoubtedly experience a meltdown or two, but trust me its worth it. The trip is sure to always be filled with wonderful memories and laughs. (*A Few trip tips- bring lots of food and visit places that are no more than an hour away from home to avoid lengthy car trips that only increase the chances of a meltdown as soon as you arrive.)
When the day trip is over, you’ve unpacked the car, brought all of your goodies into the house, and successfully transfered your sleeping child to his/her crib for an extended nap time (fingers crossed – I realize that this is quite idyllic), you may find yourself thinking… now what do I do with all of these apples and pumpkins? While the experience of apple picking is certainly one of a kind, you may also ask yourself why on earth you decided to pick two 12lb bags full. Were you really thinking that you could eat 24lbs of apples?…And what about all of those apples you already ate while walking though the orchard? …You know who you are MWL!! Did you really see yourself snacking on apples for the next month? Did “all you can carry pumpkins for 50 cents a pound ” really mean you had to try to carry the whole farm home with you?… Of course not!!! But you did, and now you’re saying, “HELP ME! My house is turning into a farmer’s market!!!”
So what can you do with all of those apples? Well, my first suggestion is have a game plan BEFORE you leave the house. But for those of you who didn’t, no worries, I’m here to help! It is important to think about what you want to make or bake, so that you are not overwhelmed when you walk in the door with pecks of produce. …Yes, I said pecks! You know, approximately 10.5 lb bags of apples … doesn’t everyone know that? (…OK, I didn’t either. Thank you apple farmers for teaching me a new measurement!) You need to understand that certain dishes are more laborious than others, but that you can cut down on the work and get to the enjoyment of your tasty, homemade treats faster by having the right tools and recipes handy.
When I went apple and pumpkin picking I had the following dishes in mind:
- Apple pancakes
- Apple muffins
- Baked apples
- Pumpkin pancakes
- Apple Crisp
- Pumpkin pie
- Pumpkin bread
To make these dishes I needed:
- Apple Peeler – I think I have the best one on earth…(props to my hubby)
- Large pot with a steamer basket
- Food processor/ blender
- Large glass 9×9 baking dish or casserole dish
- Sharp knife & cutting board (one that does not slip on the counter)
Here are few of my favorite recipes. They are all family tested and approved. For a sweet apple treat, make sure you try the apple crisp. I know that it is not my usual health conscious recipe, but you deserve a little indulgence every now and then. Pair it with Vanilla ice cream and you have a real crowd pleaser. The recipe doubles and even triples quite nicely for a large group…Thanksgiving dessert anyone?
Apple Crisp: Courtesy of Better Homes & Gardens
Makes: 6 servings/ Prep 30mins/ Bake 375°F
5 cups sliced, peeled apples
2 – 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup regular rolled oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, ginger, or cinnamon
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup chopped nuts or coconut
Vanilla ice cream or light cream (optional)
- For filling, thaw fruit, if frozen. Do not drain. Place fruit in an ungreased 2-quart square baking dish.
- Stir in the granulated sugar.
For topping, in a mixing bowl combine oats; brown sugar; flour; and nutmeg, ginger, or cinnamon. With a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in nuts or coconut.
- Sprinkle topping over filling.
- Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 30 to 35 minutes (40 minutes for thawed fruit) or until fruit is tender and topping is golden. If desired, serve warm with ice cream or light cream.
Natural Apple Sauce– 6 large apples will make a typical 8 oz jar of applesauce.
- Peel core and slice 6 large apples.
- Place apple slices in a large steamer basket in a large pot filled to the bottom of the steamer basket with water.
- Steam apples until they are tender.
- Place the steamed apples in the food processor or blender and puree.
- Allow too cool before placing in containers and storing in the refrigerator.
Apple Applesauce Muffins: Courtesy of Weelicious.com
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup honey
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cups peeled and chopped apples (about 2 medium apples)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the applesauce, buttermilk, honey, egg, and vanilla.
- Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Fold in the apples.
- Pour batter into greased muffin cups, about 3/4 full and bake 20 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center