'Tis apple season and we are lucky enough to have such a great selection in Ithaca.  Over the past few weeks we've had so much fun with apples.  We've had two cider pressing parties.  We started having these parties when the kids were young and we'd invite families of their friends.

 I'd make 4 or 5 different soups and serve them with bread and everyone would bring an appetizer or dessert.  This year was a scaled down version since the kids are grown up and I can't get them all home at the same time.  Here is my son Jeffrey with his friend Seth enjoying themselves.

We usually rent a press from the Cayuga Nature Center.  We go to King Town Orchards to buy bulk second hand apples.  Everyone takes a hand at cranking the apples and everyone leaves with a half gallon of freshly pressed cider.  We get a variety of apples and sometimes throw in some pears and this is guaranteed to be the best cider around.






Other great things to do with apples:  Dried apples.  I invested in a $20 apple corer, peeler and slicer and we already had a dehydrator.  Making a batch of apples using the Back To Basics apple corer/slicer  takes only a few minutes, once you get the hang of it.  It's an amazingly simple and efficient design and it works.

 Don't add anything to the apples.  They get incredibly sweet once they're dry and it takes about 12 hours.  If you don't want to waste the scraps (peels and ends of the apples) you can make applesauce with them.  I just throw everything (minus the cores) into my crock pot and let them cook down.  After putting them through a food mill I taste for seasoning and may add sugar,honey or cinnamon.  

This last batch of applesauce I used to make my spiced applesauce muffins.










Yesterday I made the apple garlic chutney recipe I posted a while back and we started eating it right away even though it's better after a couple of weeks.  I used dried mango, golden raisins, dried apricots and apples. 



The following recipe was passed out a few years ago by Jackie Sherwin of Black Diamond Farm.  I adapted the original recipe which was from the cookbook: An Apple Harvest-Recipes and Orchard Lore, by Frank Browning and Sharon Silva




4-5 tart apples, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped
1 cup dried apricots chopped
1 cup golden raisins
6-7 garlic cloves, peeled and mashed
2 tsp. grated and peeled fresh ginger
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups cider or red wine vinegar
1 tsp salt
1/2-1 tsp cayenne pepper
In a non-reactive pot (not aluminum or iron) combine all ingredients.  Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer, stirring often.  Add more vinegar if necessary to prevent burning.  Cook for about 30 minutes until the apples are softened and the mixture is thickened.  Taste and add more salt, sugar or vinegar if necessary. To give it a nice kick I add a teaspoon of grated ginger and a clove of pressed garlic after I turn off the heat and stir it in.
Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.  Spoon into sterile jars and cover tightly.  Refrigerate for several days and up to two weeks to allow flavors to mellow.  This chutney can be kept in the fridge for up to 2 months.



Makes 16-18 muffins
  • 1 ¼ cups applesauce
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½  cup olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½  teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½  teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½  teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon ground clove
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup raisins or chopped dried apricots
  • ½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2.  Prepare muffin pans (16-18 muffins) with cupcake foils
  3. In a large bowl, Beat eggs first and then  add the applesauce, sugar, oil, and milk; beat well.
  4.  Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and mix in cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves and salt. Add to the applesauce mixture but don't overstir.
  5. Add vanilla and fold in the pecans and raisins.
  6. Pour batter into prepared muffin tins.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.