We kicked off the season last weekend with a quintessential fall activity: apple picking! We went to Barton Orchards, about an hour upstate from my house, and luckily we arrived early enough to beat the crowds that developed later in the day. Though I had worn a sweater in the morning, the weather warmed up enough that I didn’t need it, and it was a beautiful day to enjoy apple cider donuts and spend time with Todd and my parents.
The orchard also had pick-your-own peppers, tomatoes, and eggplants, as well as several varieties of squash for sale. The shop had pies, fudge, cookies, jams, syrups, and more. We bought gingerbread pancake mix and my favorite apple salsa (enough to stockpile for a few months). I wanted to venture into the corn maze, but the line snaked at least ten people deep, and Todd and I decided we could always return next month. We did, however, browse through the pumpkin patch, where I found the perfect pumpkin!
By the end of the day, we had gathered a 1/2 bushel of apples—gala, macintosh, granny smith, golden delicious, jona mac, and a few other varieties. Only, when we got home, I realized I couldn’t really tell them apart (except for the granny smith and golden delicious) until I bit into them. Regardless, we started using our apples right away. For dinner, we made a pork roast with roasted apples & apple jus; for breakfast the next morning, an apple cake topped with oats and walnuts.
Tonight I might try my hand at some homemade applesauce, and I’ve bookmarked a bunch of apple-related recipes to test out over the next few weeks: autumn cheesecake with apples; apple blondies; butternut squash, apple, and sage soup; cran-apple muffins; and cider scalloped potatoes with gouda, among others.
What do you do with your fruit haul after apple picking? Please share if you have any cooking or baking ideas!