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Everybody Eats | Get a taste of the season with apples

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By Meredith Hines-Dochterman, The Gazette

Judging by my social media feed, everyone and their great aunt visited the apple orchard last weekend.

I love apple orchards. Whenever my husband and I play the “What would we’d if we won the lottery” game, our make-believe selves usually end up owning an orchard. I can’t imagine how hard owning and operating an orchard must be, which is why winning the lottery is crucial to our plan. We’ll need to hire people who know what they’re doing.

I have not yet visited an orchard this season. My oldest had his wisdom teeth extracted Friday, so my weekend was spent doling out pain medication and making ice packs. I have, however, made use of the amazing apple bounty at the grocery store and farmers markets.

Fun fact. More than 100 apple varieties are grown commercially in the U.S., according to the USApple Association. If that number seems out there, consider that fact that 15 popular varieties, including Jonagold, Gala and Honeycrisp, account for almost 90 percent of production.

When it comes to apples, the people have spoken.

Honeycrisp, a cross between a Macoun and a Honeygold, is the apple of choice at my house. My daughter consumes them by the bushel. It will be several weeks before my son can do the same, but at least there are plenty of apple recipes that combine the taste of the season with his need for soft foods.

MORNING GLORY MUFFINS

2 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 ¼ cups sugar

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 can (8 ounces) crushed pineapple, drained

2 cups finely carrots

1 large crisp apple, such as Fuji, Gala, or Honeycrisp

½ cup shredded, sweetened coconut

½ cup coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts

3 large eggs

1 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter 24 standard-size muffin cups or line them with cupcake liners.

Place the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl and whisk well to combine. Add the pineapple, carrots, apple, raisins, and nuts and stir to combine.

Place the eggs, oil, and vanilla in a small bowl and whisk to combine well. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Spoon batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling them almost to the brim.

Bake the muffins until they are brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of one comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes.

Place the muffin pan(s) on a wire rack and let the muffins cool for 10 minutes. Remove the muffins from the pan to finish cooling. The muffins can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months. Let the muffins thaw in the refrigerator overnight and return to room temperature before serving.

Source: The Apple Lover’s Cookbook by Amy Traverso (W. W. Norton & Company; Sept. 26, 2011)

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