After many rescheduling, we finally went to apple picking last Saturday. This is our 2nd time. Ever since the 1st time a few years ago, I have always dreamed of going back. And my dream came true! 🙂
Apple picking is in Oak Glen. It is about a 2-hour drive. It is like a mini road trip. Since it was early in the morning, I packed up a few croissants and a couple mocha frappuccino bottles for the road. We were nicely fed and ready to go.
When we arrived at Los Rios Rancho, there were lots of people already. After all, it is apple and pumpkin season. We went straight to the apple farm. It wasn’t exactly easy to find good apples. Many of them had holes and were eaten by worms. But we managed to pick 5 1/2 pounds of Rome Beauty apples. Surprisingly, strawberry picking was still available. My sister was thrilled about it. We ended up picking 2 pints of strawberries too. They were ripe and pretty sweet. It was a nice bonus.
After that, we grabbed a quick lunch. We sat under a tree to enjoy the food, live music and fresh air. It was a great escape from the busy city scene. Before we left, my sister and I tried all the samples out there that they offered. We bought a gallon of our favorite fresh apple cider. We also picked up a loaf of their homemade apple cream bread. That bread was heavenly. It is not the yeast kind. Think pumpkin and banana bread. You can taste the apple flavors in every bite with a hint of spices. We love it so much that we finished it in two days. I will have to figure out how to make something like that.
So long, Los Rios Rancho! We had an amazing time! We will see each other soon!
Back at home, this week has been all about apples. I have been making all kind of food with apples. Some turned out great, and some didn’t. But no matter good or bad, Bryan and I have to finish them. I am sure Bryan will soon be sick of apples and start to complain.
The first thing I made was this apple butter. It is called apple butter. But as most of you know, it has no butter in it. It is more like a jam. It is made with apples, cider, brown sugar, lemon, and spices. The recipe is very straight forward. It is a lot easier to make than I thought originally. All you need is a little patience. YES, it requires a couple of hours of time. But don’t freak out… Your oven is doing most of the work for you. I promise it is all worth it! Intense apple flavors, sweet, and smooth. Put it on toast, pancake, waffle, ice cream, and pork chop. It will be great on a cheese platter as well. YUM! Enjoy a great apple season!
About 1½ cups
– 2 pounds assorted apples (peeled, cored and cut into big dices)
– 1 cup apple cider
– ½ cup packed light brown sugar
– ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
– 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
– ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
– ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
– pinch of ground cloves
- Preheat the oven to 250˚F (130˚C).
- In a large ovenproof pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, combine the apples, apple cider, brown sugar and salt. Bring to a simmer with a lid partially covered. Cook until the apples are soft, about 20 minutes.
- Remove from heat. Stir in lemon juice, cinnamon, vanilla extract and cloves. Let it cool for 5 minutes.
- In a blender, puree the apple mixture in batches until smooth.
- Return the mixture to the same pot. Bake uncovered until thickened and reached your desired consistency, about 2½ – 3½ hours, stirring every 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely. Once cooled, transfer to airtight containers and keep in the fridge up to 5 days.
- If you can, use a couple different types of apples. Some tart and some sweet. That would give a nicer flavor to the butter. I used 2 Rome Beauty, 2 Fuji and 1 McIntosh.
- Use creamy apples (like Cortland, Rome Beauty, Gravenstein, Golden Delicious) for better result.
- Apple picking guides: Read & Read
(Adapted from Foodnetwork)