Fall in Ontario is glorious and this means it’s time for fall walks,hikes to see the foliage and the splendour of leaves changing colour and apple picking of course! It is a annual ritual with the family and a great way to get out of the city for a breath of crisp fresh farm air.
This year we choose to visit the Albion Orchards located in Caledon, north of Brampton.They have several varieties of apples ranging from the Red delicious, Royal gala,Cortland, Empire amongst the reds and some crisp golden and yellow ones too like the Crispin, golden russet and golden delicious.They have a wonderful Pick Your Own Apples on weekends between 10am-4pm.
We however wanted to beat the crowded weekends and decided to drive off during the week.The orchards were closed for the Pick Your own produce and we were quite happy to browse through their country store for various varieties of apples and pears, fresh pasta sauces, honey and maple syrup. The store also carries a range of homemade pies, fresh seasonal vegetables, apple cider vinegar and jams and various preserves.
The drive is approximately an hour from here in Toronto and the countryside has soul stirring views of lush corn fields, scenic rolling hills and various other green space.
We were able to take a walk around the periphery of the orchards as the PYO apples were closed for the day. All the same the varieties of fruits available at the store were in abundance to select from.
- This is probably the most common Pear available all over Canada.
- Usually available all year round.
- Bartlett pears are crunchy, tart, and slightly gritty, but when fully ripe, they develop a juicy, smooth, buttery texture with a sweet flavor.
- Bartlett pears are best suited for both raw and cooked applications such as baking, boiling, and grilling. They can be eaten fresh, out-of-hand, added to salads for a sweet flavor, sliced into wedges and served on cheese boards, or blended into a granita to top ice cream. Bartlett pears also make excellent preserves, syrups, and chutneys, can be dried, and make great additions to cakes, muffins, crisps, and quick bread. Bartlett pears compliment gorgonzola cheese, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, garlic, onions, shallots, poblano chiles, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, pomegranate seeds, strawberry, apple, spinach, pork, chicken, lamb, oysters, oregano, rosemary, parsley, mint, cilantro, Thai basil, lemongrass, matcha green tea powder, cinnamon, allspice, and honey. They will keep up to three weeks when stored in the refrigerator and a little over one year when stored in the freezer.
Crispin or Mutsu Apple:
- These apples are a cross between the Golden delicious and the Indo apples.
- They are also known as the Mutsu apples as they have an origin in the Mutsu region of Japan.
- They have a characteristic yellowish- greenish skin and a crisp texture.
- They are usually available in the fall from September through October.
- They are wonderful to eat and work well in pies, sauces and salad too.
- One of the most widely grown apple varieties in the world, and a mainstay of the supermarket apple selection – not least because it is available year round from northern and southern hemisphere suppliers. One of the unique features of Gala is that it can be grown with good quality results in both temperate and warm apple-growing regions, and it is generally regarded as a low-chill variety (i.e. it can be grown in regions which experience less than 800 hours of cool winter temperatures a year).
- Gala is a great snacking apple and ideal for chopping and adding to a salad. It’s not the best apple for baking but freezing or juicing are great uses for Gala apples.
We managed to pick up a variety of the above apples and pears. I used some of the Crispin variety in making a lovely apple crumble which I served with a warm toffee sauce and cream. The gala apples were crisp and best eaten as they were.
I’m still wondering what to make with the pears. Poached pears with a balsamic maple drizzle or even a grilled pear salad with gorgonzola and blue cheese is what comes to mind.
Well I will leave that for another post perhaps and leave you with a wonderful recipe for this Apple crumble. Sliced fresh apples tossed with cinnamon and baked under a crumble made up of Oats, flour, butter and brown sugar make up for this insanely easy and delicious dessert.
This classic favorite is a great way to celebrate fall and homestyle baking at its best!
Apple Crumble ( Serves 2-3 )
- Green apples: 2 nos ( I have used Crispin)
- Brown sugar: 1 tablespoon
- Cinnamon powder: 1/4th teaspoon
- Flour : 30 grams
- Oats : 45 grams
- Brown sugar : 2 tablespoons
- Cinnamon powder : 1/4th teaspoon
- Vanilla essence :1/2 teaspoon
- Butter (melted) : 2 tablespoons
- Peel and core apples, then cut into rough 1-2cm cubes. Place apples a saucepan and cover with water. Simmer (but don’t boil) covered with lid on med-high until apples are just tender but not too soft (usually 5mins once water is simmering). Drain apples well and place in large bowl. Combine brown sugar and cinnamon (ensures even spread), and then toss through the apples.
- Mix the flour, brown sugar, oats and cinnamon in a large bowl until evenly mixed through.
- Melt butter (do not burn or boil it) and add vanilla essence to butter, stir through.
- Add butter mix to dry ingredients and mix well using a fork. Ensure all ingredients are moist and mixture has a crumbly texture.
- Place apple mix evenly into ramekins. Spread crumble mix over top of apple. Bake at 175 degrees C for 25 minutes or until crumble topping is slightly browned.
- Serve warm.
The Albion Orchards is located at : 14800 Innis Lake Rd, Caledon East, ON L7C 2Y8
Or you may look them up at www.albionorchards.com