Fall is far and away my favorite season. The crisp air, the apple picking, the hikes surrounded by pretty leaves! I love it all. A few weekends ago, Mr. Bee, my sister and a few friends jumped in two Hondas from the ’90s and headed upstate to enjoy the changing leaves, pick a few apples, and see some farm animals. We arrived at Applewood Orchards and Winery after driving for about an hour north of Brooklyn, gazing at some adorable Alpacas (CUTE! Who knew we had Alpacas in NY?) on the last few small windy roads leading the the orchard.
We did the usual. Hopped on a hayride. Illegally ate some apples before buying them. Drank a few wine slushies (yes, frozen red wine — delicious). And we “learned” how to juggle, immortalized through this video.
We then headed to The Wright Family Farm, a lovely local farm down the road that has been in the Wright family for about a century. We wandered through a corn maize, pet some baby goats and pigs, and checked out the pumpkin patch. We met Farmer Wright, who told us the history of the farm and what the diminishing population of honey bees (thanks, climate change) is doing to his harvest. We all left pretty impressed by how hard his family works to keep the farm going. Made us feel guilty for complaining about all the walking we had to do through the corn maize.
And then we headed back to the city. With bags and bags of apples. They sat on my counter for about a week, as I was trying to figure out what to do with them. The typical apple pie and apple crisp came to mind, but I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, so those ideas weren’t motivating me into action. After awhile, I decided on applesauce. Felt kind of boring, but turns out it was one of the best ideas I’ve ever had. Well, maybe not — but it was a good one.
I used Ina Garten’s easy and delicious recipe for homemade applesauce, swapping the lemon for lime and the all spice for some chipotle seasoning to fit my taste. Note: the apple peels are not quite as easy to pull out as Ina makes it seem, so for non-pros, it might be worth sticking them in cheesecloth or something similar. As I was cooking it, the house smelled amazing, for hours. And there was something about that moment, the smell of those baking apples, that made me feel like fall had officially arrived.
I’ve been slowly making my way through the big vat of applesauce that lives in my fridge, and have happily discovered that homemade applesauce is so much more than just a condiment like the commercial stuff. I’ve been adding it to everything from granola, to roast pork, to potato latkes (which aren’t just a seasonal treat in my household). Yes, I’m this excited about applesauce. A delicious way to welcome the fall.