Most of my bike routes around New Paltz involve riding through orchards. They are everywhere. And starting in September, they start to come alive with apples and out-of-town apple pickers. The extent of my picking is usually jumping off my bike mid-ride to grab an apple or a pear off the tree.
But now that kids (mine + nieces and nephews) are in the picture, the idea of running around an orchard on a nice fall day seemed like a must do. So in between cram training for the upcoming Rev3 Florida Half Ironman, we've spent part of the past two weekends doing some apple picking.
The first orchard we visited was a zoo. We pulled up to the parking lot and it was as if there was a 1500 person triathlon about to happen. I was worried the place would be overrun by screaming babies (including my own) and angry, stinging bees. Once in the orchard, we found plenty of apples in the far corners of the orchard. No one cried or got stung and we even played in the corn maze. It was fun, but not worth the 40 minute drive.
For our second apple picking experience, we stayed local for a completely different experience at Jenkins-Leukens Orchard in New Paltz. We picked Saturday, late afternoon, and other than a few families, had the place to ourselves. The trees were FULL of crisp, ripe apples. We don’t know what kind they were because the trees weren’t signed. Think Honey Crisp, but way, way more flavorful. And for anyone in it for more than just the apples, the views of the Shawangunk Ridge climbing cliffs are amazing.
At the end of all this apple picking, we had 40+ pounds of apples - enough to make an apple pie every night until next year. If only I had the time (or ability to make a pie crust). Instead, I have been baking big batches of apples. Cooked with fresh ginger and seasoned with cinnamon, the apples become like pie filling without the extra sweetness. They are perfect with oatmeal for breakfast or greek yogurt for an afternoon snack.
4 cups of crispy apples, or about 4 medium sized apples, sliced, peeled and cored
1 inch of fresh ginger, peeled
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Prehead oven to 375 degrees.
Place apples in a casserole dish with a lid. If you don’t have a dish with a lid, any glass baking dish, plus tin foil will do.
Grate ginger using a Microplane (or other small grater) directly on to apples. Toss to evenly distribute the ginger.
Bake 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and keep the lid/foil on for another 10 minutes to allow the apples to continue steaming.
Sprinkle with cinnamon and use immediately or pack into a glass jar and store in the refrigerator.