Apple picking is an autumn rite-of-passage for many families in the East End. New York State is blessed with more than 55,000 apple orchards to choose from, including our top four East End apple farms for families.
If you’re looking for a fantastic apple this year, you’re in luck! While the growing season started cold and dry, the recent heat built up the sugar content of the apples, while the rainfall increased sizing and the cool nights enhanced the ruby red coloration.
The harvest is abundant, no matter what type of apple you prefer, with 29 to 30 million bushels available in total, on par with the five-year average. Popular Gala and Mcintosh are already available, with Honeycrisp and Fuji starting to appear. Champlain and Hudson Valley exclusives like SnapDragon and RubyFrost may not debut until mid-October.
Once you and the kids have enjoyed a day at the apple farm, you’ll have fresh-picked apples to enjoy for a good six to eight weeks if you store them in the refrigerator. If you have leftovers or like to get creative in the kitchen, we recommend the following apple-inspired recipes to whip up with your little chefs. After all, cooking together has been shown to increase math, science, and literacy skills, while fostering both independence and cooperation in children.
Easy Apple Pie Bites
If you’re looking for a quick, easy after-school snack, look no further! Upgrade your apple slices by tucking them inside crescent rolls and topping with butter, cinnamon, and sugar. The job is easy enough for kid hands to pull off and cooled down, ready to eat, in less than 30 minutes – what more could you ask for? Get the recipe.
You may prefer calling this a “giant German apple pancake” or a “Dutch Baby,” which sounds just as cute as it is fulfilling. Some serve this as a weekend breakfast or you could prepare it on a Sunday for a quick Monday dinner paired with a hearty salad. You may consider doubling the apples, while cutting the butter and sugar rations in half, for a healthier alternative that still tastes great. Get the recipe.
You’ll need five cups of thin-sliced firm, crisp apples to make this delicious treat. The heavenly scent emanates from your oven for 50 minutes as it’s cooking is worth the effort alone! Kids will love shaking up all the ingredients in a plastic bag before dumping it into a pie pan. Don’t forget to buy French vanilla ice cream to dollop on top. Get the recipe.
You may want to do the apple peeling and coring before you call the kids in to help mix the batter. The end result is a kid-pleaser that isn’t overly sweet, but makes a great breakfast — especially when warmed slightly in the microwave or toaster and spread with a thin layer of butter as you would garnish a banana bread. Get the recipe.
Apple Cheddar Tart
Midwesterners know a thing or two about gussying up their apples with complementary pairings. Few bites are more satisfying than the sticky sweetness of caramelized apple alongside salty, sharp cheddar. This recipe hails from French pastry chef Thomas Raquel who works at La Bernardin, an elite restaurant on West 51st Street, steps from MoMA. The steps are more complex than the previous recipes and involve a bit of dough rolling for an older chef’s apprentice, but we included it for the creativity and local flavor nevertheless. Get the recipe.
Hungry for More?
You can also try our Fresh Cinnamon Cranberry Apple Sauce, dice or grate apples to mix with cabbage coleslaw, grill on a skewer alongside pears and pineapples, or toss with crunchy granola, yogurt, and nuts for a quick apple parfait. If you love the idea of your child cooking, but want someone else to clean up the mess, consider adding one of Shine’s “Kitchen Stars” signature cooking classes to the mix.