My favorite time of year is apple season. Every fall, we head to a local orchard for a fun-filled day. There’s a corn maze, a pumpkin patch, a children’s play area with slides, swings, peddle-powered go-carts, and a corn box, and of course, apple picking.
While my husband and the kids are playing, I head to the farm stand to check out the seconds bins.
The seconds are the apples that are perfectly edible, but they just aren’t pretty enough for retail. They might be ugly apples, but they make delicious applesauce, pies, crumbles, and crisps.
At this particular farm stand, the seconds are $8 for a 1/2 bushel as opposed to $12 for a 1/2 bushel of the pretty apples on display or the u-pick orchard. I always buy the seconds. There are usually several varieties to choose from and I sort through the bins to pick from all the varieties offered. I am convinced the secret to delicious, homemade applesauce (or any apple dish) is to use a wide variety of apples: Ginger Gold, Stayman, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, MacIntosh, Jonagold, Granny Smith. The variety of sweet and tart apples balance each other out and little to no sugar is needed for my homemade applesauce.
This weekend, I bought (2) 1/2 bushel bags worth of seconds and I spent all of Sunday night making my sugar-free applesauce for the freezer. I’m a little paranoid of running out of applesauce over the upcoming winter that I might go buy some more apples. We ran out around March this past year and had to settle for store bought and it just isn’t the same. When I went to buy a jar at Wegman’s last March, I was amazed to find high fructose corn syrup in their store brand version. WHY?? I guess they don’t know the secret.
So next time you go apple picking, ask the orchard if they have a seconds bin. If you are buying a large amount of apples and the seconds are in good condition, it will be worth it.
Are you apple picking this season? Check out these 20 apple recipes for some delicious ideas..