‘Tis the season for apple picking and apple time is the perfect time for family time. Fall is here and what better way to spend a breezy afternoon then with your family in a scenic orchard. It is so much fun to get all bundled up and head out to gather an early fall bounty of delicious and nutritious apples. After a hard day of work, treat yourself to a cup of hot cider-yum!
Apple Picking Tips:
This is the prime time to go apple picking at a local farm because the crop is at it’s crispy-best! The recommended way to pick an apple is by twisting it away from the fruit spur. Harvested apples should be kept in a cool dry place for preserving its quality and flavour. This method of storage slows down apples from maturing. If kept in a warm place, the apples will ripen much quicker. The best way to maintain the freshness of the apples is in perforated plastic bags in the refrigerator.
Celebrate a good day of picking by making a simple and hearty applesauce. Just core, peel, and cube the apples into small pieces. Add just enough water to a deep pot, cover and allow it to simmer until the apples have been reduced to a smooth consistency. Remember to stir occasionally. Add cinnamon to taste and voila! Tasty, healthy applesauce sans sugar! I like to use my Dutch Oven (non-Teflon!) on the stovetop, using Honey Crisp apples for making my son the ultimate organic, locally-grown, homemade goodness (as seen in photo below).
There are a wide variety of apples to choose from in Ontario. Some better served straight-up, while others tastier after coming out of the oven. The Ontario Farm Fresh Association has created a list of all the different types of apples along with their key characteristics and how best to serve them:
McIntosh – tender, juicy and moderately tart, great for cooking, baking or eating fresh.
Red Delicious – firm, crisp and low acid, great eaten raw, not recommended for cooking.
Empire – super crunchy texture, great for school lunches or perfect in sauces and for baking.
Idared – sweetly tart and juicy, great for sauces, baking and cooking.
Crispin – very juicy and super crisp, perfect for sauces, baking and freezing.
Golden Delicious – mildly sweet and juicy, great for salads and baking.
Spartan – distinctive sweet flavour, great all-purpose apple.
Cortland – sweet with a hint of tartness, excellent for eating, salads, sauces and baking.
Northern Spy – sweet-tart flavour, great for eating and is fabulous for baking.
Honey Crisp – ultra crisp, sweet, slightly tart, great for eating, salads and baking.
Russet – spicy pronounced flavour, definitely worth a try, great for eating.
Jona Gold – honey sweet with a hint of tart, great for eating, salads and baking.
Royal Gala – mellow sweet flavour, great for eating raw.
*The list is courtesy of Ontario Farm Fresh available on their website:
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