Afternoon Out: Beardsley's Cider Mill & Orchard
Where: 278 Leavenworth Rd, Shelton, CT
When: Weekends in September and October, 10am-5:30pm
Cost: Usually $15-$25 per bag, cash or check only
Ahh, apple picking. A quintessential New England Autumn tradition. Since moving to Connecticut, I've been on a mission to soak up all the Fall I can get, and this year we finally made it to a pick-your-own orchard! There are so many to choose from in Southwestern Connecticut, and I'd love to make it to each eventually, but Beardsley's Cider Mill will always be my first.
The apple varieties you'll be able to pick vary according to the orchard's harvesting schedules (if you're after Honeycrisp, try to go early in the season!). We got our picking bag at the entrance, filled it with all the Courtland and Empire apples we could, and paid by the pound on our way out- our bag came to about $16, and we got approximately one TON of apples.
What to do with all that goodness once you're home? Both the Courtland and Empire apples were great just for eating- crisp, sweet, and tart- but just two people had no chance of getting through the bag that way! I tried this recipe for Apple Pie Muffins to mixed reviews- the batter went everywhere during baking, so we ended up with Apple Pie Blobs instead of muffins, but they tasted great!
After that, I was still left with a practically full bag of apples, but done with baking for the day, so I turned to my trusty slow-cooker and made this super simple homemade applesauce.
Prep time, 10 minutes. Cook time, 4-5 hours.
4-5 Apples, cored and chopped
About 1 cup of other fruit- I used bottled peaches the first time, fresh raspberries the second
Optional: 1 tsp Brown Sugar, 1 Squeeze Lemon Juice
Add all ingredients to slow cooker. Heat on High for two hours, then turn to Low for an additional 2 or 3 hours. Stir occasionally.
I love that this recipe allows for so much creativity- this would be pretty hard to mess up, and it's so low-maintenance! The apple peels won't dissolve all the way, so if that bothers you, remove them beforehand. The recipe above makes about 5 cups of applesauce, but it could easily be adjusted for more or less. If you're into canning, this could be an awesome hostess gift for the upcoming holidays!
I still have a few apples in my fridge, so if you have any go-to recipes, let me know! Now, on to the next autumnal adventure...