Apples Galore ~ By Wendy Mitchell
Nothing says autumn in New England quite like apples. From apple picking to apple festivals to apple pie stands at local fairs, apples are everywhere. You may have gone apple picking at Blue Jay Orchards and found yourself with more apples than you know what to do with.
Here are some ideas to help get the most out of your beautiful bounty.
Apple Print Placemats
Take one apple and cut in half, down the center. Pour some red paint onto a paper plate and let your child dip the apple into the paint. Make prints on a 11 x 14″ piece of paper in whatever pattern they choose. Let dry then have your child write their name on the paper.
Laminate by using two sheets of clear contact paper that can be picked up in your local hardware or home goods store. Use a ruler to press out any air bubbles.
Apple Spice Sachets
Use these for hostess gifts when visiting friends. The fragrances of fall will wow your friends and it will be easy and fun for you and your child to make.
Pick up the following ingredients at your local grocery store; whole packet of cinnamon sticks, 2 tablespoons whole cloves, 2 tablespoons allspice berries, and 1 tablespoon cardamom.
Mix spices in a bowl then wrap them up in cheesecloth. Tie the bundle up with a red ribbon. Have your child trace his or her hand on a thick sheet of cardstock then let them paint or color.
Cut the hand out and poke a hole through the top and tie to the ribbon. Attach to a wine or cider bottle for a unique hostess gift. Glue a recipe (see below) for hot mulled cider to the back.
Hot Mulled Apple Cider
Combine one gallon of apple cider with one apple spice sachet (see above) in a large pot. Simmer over low heat 30 minutes. Ladle into mugs and serve hot.
Garnish with a cinnamon stick. A variation is to use a bottle or red wine and simmer for 15 minutes instead of 30.
Apple Squirrel Feeders
Hollow out an apple with a paring knife. Fill the center with peanut butter. Tie a piece if thin twine around the apple and hang from your porch or tree.
Your child will get a kick out of watching the squirrel snack on the sticky concoction.
Baked Stuffed Apples
This is an original recipe I created based on a stuffed peppers recipe idea. You can use pasta or rice, whichever your family prefers. You can use chicken or sausage (or chicken sausage) for the filling.
4 large apples
1 cup cooked brown or wild rice
1 package Jones pork sausage
4 celery, diced
½ cup dried cranberries or raisins
4 slices Muenster cheese
Using a paring knife, hollow out 4 large apples. Throw away core and seeds and set aside. Dice flesh of apple and set aside for filling.
Cook sausage in pan and drain off fat. Add celery and apples and cook until tender. Toss all ingredients, including rice, in mixing bowl then fill the apples. Top with cheese and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.
Click here for an applesauce recipe.
Click here for a complete list of pick-your-own farms in Connecticut.
Apples are great to use in pies, cakes, breads, and even for craft ideas. There are so many variations of preparing this tasty fall fruit. Apples also have many health benefits. So don’t forget to eat your “apple a day,” and crunch away!