Nothing says fall quite like a trip to your local apple orchard. As we are approaching September, the prime month for apple-picking, keep these tips in mind for finding the perfect orchard and picking just the right apples.
Pick-your-own apples and farm stands are available at most apple orchards. In Maine, there is a website maintained by the Main Pomological Society specifically dedicated to Maine apples. When seeking out the perfect orchard, the Internet is your friend. You can also find information on other activities at the orchards, such as hayrides, corn mazes and more.
When deciding which variety of apples to pick, keep in mind that some apples are best eaten fresh and others should be used for baking.
- Size: It’s counterintuitive, but smaller is usually better when choosing an apple. Larger apples have ripened quicker and may be past their peak.
- Skin: Look for smooth skin without any cuts or bruises. Bruised skin will ripen more quickly.
- Color: The brighter, the better.
- Removal: Lift the apple and give it a twist; never pull the apple downward from the branch. If possible, try to keep the stem on the apple. It’s believed the stem will help the apple store better if you do not plan to eat it right away.
- Taste: Give it a bite. A ripe apple should be crisp, juicy and sweet. If the apple is hard, difficult to bite or bitter, it it’s quite ready.
Did you know?
- It takes roughly 36 apples to make one gallon of apple cider.
- There are nearly two pounds of apples in one, 9-inch apple pie.
- There are roughly 2,500 varieties of apples grown in the United States.
- The McIntosh apple is the most popular variety in New England.
If you’re picking New England’s most popular apple variety – the McIntosh – then put your apples to good use using our Apple & Sour Cream Pie recipe. It was one of our Recipe Developer’s very first recipes she created for us, and it’s one of our favorites!
Apple & Sour Cream Pie
For the pie:
- 1 (9-inch) unbaked pie crust (check out our favorite recipe!)
- 1/2 cup Stonewall Kitchen Wild Maine Blueberry Jam or Holiday Jam
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 1 large egg, slightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup, plus 1 Tablespoon, flour
- 6 McIntosh apples
For the crumb topping:
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 5 Tablespoons butter
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Line pie plate with prepared pie crust and crimp edges.
- Spread Wild Maine Blueberry Jam or Holiday Jam evenly over bottom of pie crust.
- In a small bowl combine the sugar, flour and salt. Mix thoroughly.
- Combine the sour cream, egg and vanilla in a medium size bowl and mix. Add the flour mixture and mix.
- Peel, core and slice the apples (approximately 1/4-inch thick) and add them to the sour cream mixture. Toss and coat the apples, then spread them evenly in the pie crust.
- Bake the pie at 425°F for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°F and bake an additional 30 minutes.
- While the pie is baking, prepare the crumb topping by combining the flour, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Cut in the butter until topping resembles coarse meal.
- After the pie has cooked 30 minutes, top with crumb topping and bake an additional 15-20 minutes.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
If apple picking isn’t your thing, or you just can’t get enough apple products this time of year, be sure to check out our Products of the Month for September! All 10% off starting September 1st through the end of the month.