Saturday, September 29, 2007

Apple Time

Apples are a big crop in my region, with orchards blanketing the hillsides south of the city. Picking is a seasonal ritual that keeps us city folk tied to the land, in some marginal way, at least. We can drive out to the farms, ride a tractor into the fields, and feel a part of things. I swear it used to be a hay ride into the orchards, but somewhere along the way, they switched to empty carts behind a tractor. Too many allergy complaints, I wonder?


We went to the big farm, the Apple Empire, not because their apples are any better, but rather for the sheer expansiveness of the orchards. Apples for miles and miles and miles. Of course with this beautiful weather, it was a madhouse. Sheriffs were out directing traffic, and the gift shop so crowded one could barely move. We picked Macs, but ventured into the shop for honey crisps, cider, and donuts. I should have got some cheese curds, too.


Apparently honey crisps are a relatively new variety in these parts, and pick-your-own orchards aren't available yet. I suspect the professionals are gentler on the trees than us weekenders. I couldn't believe what some of the kids were getting away with out in the orchards: throwing apples, breaking branches, and running roughshod. My parents would never have tolerated such destructive behavior. Anyway, we sampled the honey crisps last time we were at the Apple Empire, and they are definitely tasty.


So I'll be eating a lot of apples in the next few days. I don't usually cook anything with them, just crunch them up fresh. What do you do with your apples? Any good recipes I should try?

9 comments:

Woman Warrior said...

Oh Berry Bird, I live in envy. In envy of the field work (not that I'm trained for that sort of thing, but you know I do have an appreciation for the great outdoors); in envy of your apple orchards; in envy the wide open spaces and crisp fall sky (free of pollution).... Reading your blog really makes me long for home. And I reckon that my real home is not so far from yours.

I love apple picking. sigh.

Nadine said...

Well. I would suggest you make an apple crisp or an apple pie. And then invite me over to EAT whichever you choose. :-)

Sara said...

Old fashioned applesauce is fun, though if you got honeycrisps I'm not sure they're the best apple for it....

But anyway - Peel or don't, but definitely core a few apples. Cut into chunks, put into a pot with a tiny bit of water and several tablespoons of butter. Sprinkle with a bit of cinnamon sugar -- it doesn't take a lot, and you can leave it out.

Cook until mushy, mash with a potato masher, cook more to cook off excess liquid.

Yum....

And for savory applications, carmelize some onions in the butter until *very* limp, soft, and brown, and THEN add the apple chunks and continue as before. Just make sure the onion is an accent and not the main event :)

Aliki2006 said...

Mmmm...honey crisps--even the name sounds delicious!

I love to bake apples--core them and fill them with walnuts and raisins and honey. Not only are they yummy but they make the house smell heavenly!

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

OH, I really miss apple picking. Had a honey crisp the other day, yum, and some early macs--miss empires, they don't have them here.

I was just going to say, besides crunching down fresh apples, which are hard on my teeth now that I have this broken one and some issues with the temporary crown, I like apple pie and apple crisp. Also, some of those related things. But they aren't that hard to make. If you don't want to both rolling out crusts, by a premade crust, peel and cut up some apples, add 3/4 c sugar, a little butter and some cinnamon (nutmeg too, if you want), pop into the over and bake about 45 minutes or until the crust is brown but not burnt and the apples are soft when you insert a fork.

And yes, we make applesauce about once a week--even biker buddy made some last week. We make one apple's worth of applesauce and serve it right on the plate with a meal.

purpleteardropsofhappilymarriedness said...

Ooh apple picking, im going with my pagan group in a few weeks. I love Honey Crisps! I just bought a 5.5lb bag of them at the supermarket. I discovered them at my local farmer's market last year and have been waiting all year for fall to arrive so I could get more of them. I finally feel like its fall which is the best time of year for me

Casey said...

Those look wonderful.

I like apple salad. Apples, walnuts, dried cranberries, and cream cheese fruit dip. Yum.

Electronic Goose said...

Oh fun! I love apples with the centers cored out and peanut butter filled in. Simple but oh so good.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

One of the things we did today was pick feral apples YUM were they good.