Ripe for the picking

Adventures in the apple orchard


Welcome to the short-lived delights of the season: juicy, crisp apples, sweet cider, fairs. And, of course, some pumpkins along the way. Yes, that harvest time of year approaches, and with it, apple picking awaits, underway at Long Island’s ‘u-pick’ orchards.

Growers are producing more of the varieties that everyone loves. Think beyond the classics (McIntosh and Empire) and enjoy returning favorites Gala and Honeycrisp, along with popular choices Zestar, Jonamac and Macoun. Zestar is considered an early-season apple that’s juicy, with a light and crisp texture.

Also check out the newer varieties such as RubyFrost, SnapDragon and SweeTango. The RubyFrost’s blend of sweet and tart flavors and its crisp texture make it a great choice for eating as-is and in for use in baking, salads and sauces. The sweet juicy SnapDragon is known for a “monster crunch.” One of its parents is the Honeycrisp — it’s characterized by a spicy/sweet flavor. Honeycrisp has also given us SweeTango, with its crunchy sweet flavor.

Once home with your treasures, make some delicious apple treats.

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Dutch Apple Pie


  •  1 cup all-purpose flour
  •  1/2 teaspoon salt
  •  1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon shortening
  •  2 to 3 tablespoons cold water



  • 8 cups sliced cored peeled apples
  •  1/2 cup granulated sugar
  •  1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  •  1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  •  1 tablespoon lemon juice



  •  1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  •  1 cup all-purpose flour
  •  2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  •  1 tablespoon granulated sugar

In medium bowl, mix 1 cup flour and the salt. Cut in shortening, using pastry blender (or pulling 2 table knives through ingredients in opposite directions), until particles are size of small peas. Sprinkle with cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with fork until all flour is moistened and pastry almost leaves side of bowl (1 to 2 teaspoons more water can be added if necessary). Gather pastry into a ball. Shape into flattened round on lightly floured surface. Wrap flattened round of pastry in plastic wrap, and refrigerate about 45 minutes, or until dough is firm and cold, yet pliable. This allows the shortening to become slightly firm, which helps make the baked pastry more flaky. If refrigerated longer, let pastry soften slightly before rolling.

Heat oven to 400° F. On surface sprinkled with flour, using floured rolling pin, roll pastry dough into circle 2 inches larger than 9-inch pie plate. Fold pastry into fourths; place in pie plate. Unfold and ease into plate, pressing firmly against bottom and side and being careful not to stretch pastry, which will cause it to shrink when baked. Trim overhanging edge of pastry 1 inch from rim of pie plate. Fold and roll pastry under, even with plate; flute as desired.

In large bowl, toss filling ingredients. Pour into pie plate, mounding apples toward center.

In medium bowl, use pastry blender or fingers to mix butter, 1 cup flour and the brown sugar until a crumb forms. Sprinkle evenly over top of pie. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon granulated sugar on top.

Bake 45 to 55 minutes or until pie crust and crumb topping are deep golden brown and filling begins to bubble. Transfer to cooling rack to cool.


New York Apple Slaw Salad

  • 2 cups sliced, finely chopped green cabbage
  • 1 cup sliced, finely chopped red cabbage
  • 1 medium red apple, sliced thin and cut into small matchsticks
  • 1 medium green apple, sliced thin and cut into small matchsticks
  • 1 cup grated carrot
  • 1/4 cup shelled, roasted pistachios
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Sweet and Sour Cider Dressing

  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon country dijon mustard (such as Grey Poupon)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider

In a cruet or jar, combine dressing ingredients and shake well. Set aside.

Combine cabbage, carrot and apples into a large bowl.  

Chop pistachios with a knife or use a chopper.  

Add chopped pistachios to the bowl.  

Add dressing, salt and pepper to taste, and stir well.  

Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes; stir again before serving.