While many folks swoon over pumpkin-flavored everything when the weather turns cooler, I’m always crushing on everything apple.
Perhaps its because I live in New York – land of apples. Heck, the state’s main city is known as the BIG APPLE. Fresh cider, honeycrisp apples straight from my favorite local farm stand and baked crisp are my mainstays.
For me, fall is more than an excuse for leaf-peeping and the return of sweater season. It means I get to pick apples.
Get to? What’s that?
Picking apples tops my list of favorite fall activities, but I rarely head to a touristy apple farm to do so. Sure, those are fun, but not my cup of tea. Thanks to my in-laws, I get to pick all the apples I could ever dream of picking in our own backyard.
Each fall, I drive to downstate to help my husband’s father pick apples. The family orchard is on a retired dairy farm in the Catskills. Sometimes apple-collecting is a family outing and other times, its a solo gig.
I know its a chore, but to me picking apple after apple is heaven. I pluck one after another from the tree, careful not to pull too hard and bring dozens more to the ground. (or bouncing off my head- yes, that’s happened….many times.) Sometimes I even climb into the bucket of the backhoe and pick from the top of the tree.
Last week, I filled crate after crate from two blossoming trees on the farm. Several hours and eight bushels later I had yet to run out of steam, but I absolutely ran out of containers. Sigh.
Apples picked at the farm are pressed into cider, fermented and made into apple wine, turned into delectable applesauce, crisp or homemade pies. Most of the time, I just eat them as is. These apples are completely organic. No pesticides, no sprays.
Last week, my father-in-law taught me his coveted recipe. I made one last week for company, and other today. Delicious! The trick is to use a variety of apples.
Have you gone apple-picking this season? Where do you go? Do you pick from the tree or buy by the bushel? What’s your favorite way to use freshly-picked apples? Tell me in the comments!