Tuesday, September 5, 2023

It's Apple Season!

"By all these lovely tokens, September days are here, 
with summer's best of weather, and autumn's best of cheer."


Ah, September! The beginning of my favorite time of the year! And while the temperatures are still rather warm (I think today was the most humid and uncomfortable day we've had this season), there is still a sense that things are changing. The days are growing shorter, and the leaves are becoming dull. A few of the trees in our yard are even showing some signs of color, and in just three short weeks, Autumn will officially arrive!

Being a seasonal soul, there are certain things that I attribute to each month and season, and in spite of the fact that Starbucks has rolled out their pumpkin spice latte's and frappacino's, for me September is decidely all about apples! I'm not really in pumpkin mode until October. And so in celebration of the turn of the season and to celebrate September, I thought I would share a few recipes and diffuser blends featuriing apples!

First up is Autumn Spiced Jam. This week I made the lovliest Spiced Vanilla Pear Jam (Recipe comng soon), and while I was making it up, I came across this recipe which sounds equally as good! Pears have become a recent favorite of mine, and I've grown to prefer them over apples. But as I said, September begs for apples, and while I don't care for them much raw, I do love them in baked goods and jams and jellies. I added this one to my list of canning and I hope to make up a small batch soon.

1 1/2 lbs. apples, peeled and cored
1 1/2 lbs. pears, peeled and chopped
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 lemon juiced (or 2 tablespoons lemon juice)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Pinch of sea salt

Heat large saucepan over medium heat and add apples, pears, sugar, lemon juice, vanilla extract and spices. Stir until sugar is dissolved.

Increase heat to medium high to bring mixture to a boil. Continue to boil for 30 minutes or until thickened. If you have a thermometer, boil until the temperature reaches 220 F. Use a potato masher or immersion blender to blend to a smooth consistency. Remove from heat and add a pinch of salt.

Transfer the apple and pear jam to a jar and let cool at room temperature. Store in refrigerator for 1 month.

For longer shelf life:
Remove from heat and ladle into sterilized jars.  Place lids on jars and screw in place. Place in boiling water with at least 1 inch covering for 10 minutes to seal.  Let cool at room temperature for 1 day.  Store in a cool dark place. Once opened, store in refrigerator and use within 1 month.

This next recipe is from my mom's recipe box and the one I've traditionally made for the our dessert for the Autumn Equinox the past two years.  I haven't completely thought through our plans to celebrate the equinox this year, but I do think I may make this up again this year.

3-4 large apples of your choice, peeled and thinly sliced
3 Tablespoons salted butter, melted
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
3 Tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup salted butter,cut into small pieces

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a medium size bowl combine the crumb topping ingredients with a fork or pastry blender until it resembles small crumbs. Refrigerate while you prepare the apple filling.

Peel and slice apples.  In a small bowl, combine melted butter and flour until well blended. Add lemon juice, milk and vanilla and stir well. Stir in brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt.

Pour butter mixture over apples and toss to coat. Pour apple mixture into an 8x8-inch baking dish and spread into an even layer. Sprinkle crumb topping evenly over the apples.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream drizzled with caramel sauce, if desired.

And finally, I shared a list of my favorite everyday diffuser blends with you recently, and then this week I came across several that feature apples! I'm eager to give Caramel Apple and Spiced Cider a try this week!

2 drops lavender
2 drops lemongrass
2 drops clove
2 drops cinnamon bark

3 drops bergamot
3 drops stress away
2 drops lime

4 drops thieves
2 drops orange
1 drop nutmeg

4 drops orange
3 drops cinnamon bark
3 drops ginger

4 drops orange
2 drops nutmeg
1 drop cinnamon bark
1 drop clove

2 drops clove
2 drops cinnamon bark
2 drops ginger

Hopefully you've found something here to inspire you. Whether you use one of the diffuser blends, or bake up something warm in the oven, these recipes are sure to leave your home filled with the warm and cozy scent of apples! What are some of your favorite recipes featuring apples? Share in the comments!

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