With the end of November comes the end of apple picking season here in central New York. Although the season seemed to come very early this year, I was still sad to see it go. There is nothing like the taste a a freshly-picked apple, not to mention all the goodies that you can make with the bounty!
Right now, an entire produce drawer in our fridge is filled with locally grow apples. We're each eating a couple of apples a day, in addition to cooking and baking with them, so I thought I'd do one last apple post before the orchards are buried in snow the the apples are just a memory.
First of all, a little apple transgression. As Daiku and I were driving away from an orchard, whose name shall be kept secret, we noticed a cluster of trees with very interesting looking apples growing on them cordoned off near the exit. These trees were definitely not open for picking, and the apples looked like nothing we'd ever seen before- they were pretty large, with skin so dark, they almost looked black.
So, furtively, I ran out of the car as Daiku nervously kept the engine running. I ran to the forbidden trees and, quickly as I could, picked one of these black apples. I then ran back to the car, giddy and a little nervous. What if they follow us and punish us for touching their top-secret apples? What if the apples are radioactive, or some horrible genetic mutants? (Anyone remember "tomacco" from the Simpsons...?)
We tried the apple about a week after bringing it home. (We kept putting it off, because we wanted a "special" occasion to try this super "special" apple, and of course with our busy schedules, that special moment never came.) By the time we did get to eat the apple, we were afraid that it would be mealy from having sat in the fridge for so long. So, each of us bites into this apple and ZOMG! Possibly the most wonderful apple EVER! (And I've tasted plenty of really great apples). This apple had it all- sweet-tangy flavor, perfect crisp texture, perfume-like scent, it was indescribable. I wish I'd taken some more when I had the chance!
So now, I want to ask you, does anyone recognize this apple? Can anyone tell us what this is? Once you've tried something this good, the thought of living the rest of your life without it seems bleak!
Ok, enough about the magical black apple. Here is a muffin recipe to use up some of your own produce glut. I adapted this muffin from the apple zucchini muffins in the first edition of the "Don't Eat Off the Sidewalk" 'zine. Except, I made so many huge changes that I would feel bad saying this is that recipe, so I will give you my recipe for:
apple-apple muffins (makes 10 muffins)
- 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 C unsweetened soymilk (edit 11/30: I meant to say "1/2 C", not "1/c C"!
- 1 C whole spelt flour
- 1 C whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- a few grates of nutmeg (or 1/2 tsp. pre-ground nutmeg)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 C dark brown sugar, packed
- 1-2 TB agave nectar (can omit if you want a less sweet breakfast muffin)
- 1/4 C oil
- 2 apples, grated (can leave peels intact)
- optional mix-ins: nuts, raisins, dried fruit, coconut...
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
- pour the vinegar into a large measuring cup, pour the soymilk over it and let it sit while you complete the rest of the recipe
- grate your apples and keep them covered until ready to use
- whisk together all the dry ingredients
- add the sugar, agave nectar, and oil to the soymilk/vinegar mixture, mix until well-blended.
- add the wet ingredients to the dry, mix gently until just blended- do NOT overmix!
- add the apples (and any optional mix-ins) and fold gently until mixed through
- fill your muffin cups generously- until just under full
- bake for 18 - 20 minutes, or until fully puffed and golden brown
- allow to cool for 1 - 2 minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool completely before storing. (you can, of course, eat these while they're piping hot!)