How To Poach a Pear

A poached pear is a pear that has been cooked in a gently simmering liquid. Poached pears can be eaten on their own, or incorporated into dessert or dinner. This is a classic dish to serve in the fall and winter, when most pears are at their best. 

Pick your poaching liquid 

The poaching liquid is the liquid in which the pear is simmered. Depending on what liquid you choose, you can use this to add flavor to your pear. Pears can be poached in wine, or in water that has been spiked with flavorings like spices, honey, or liqueur. 

Prepare the pear

Pear skin has tannins, which could impart a bitter flavor if left on during poaching. To prep your pear for poaching, peel the skin of the pear away with a paring knife or vegetable peeler. Cut the pear in half vertically and remove the seeds with a melon baller or small spoon. 

Watch carefully 

During poaching, the pear should be mostly submerged in liquid. If too much liquid boils away, you’ll need to add more. The pear is done when it is soft and a knife can easily pierce all the way through. Depending on the size of the pear, this could take 16 to 18 minutes. After the fruit is tender all the way through, allow it to cool in the poaching liquid if time allows. 

Watch a Blue Apron chef demonstrate our favorite method for poaching pears below.

Now that you’ve learned the basics, try this recipe for Poached Pear & Crispy Goat Cheese Salad with Escarole & Walnuts. For this recipe, we flavor our poaching liquid with verjus, honey, juniper berries, mustard seeds and tarragon stems. The result is a slightly sweet fruit with plenty of warm spice. It’s a perfect complement to tanging goat cheese and crisp lettuce. 

Learn more about types of pears here.

Four-Ingredient Easy Apple Cider

Easy apple cider recipe

We’re in the thick of apple picking season, and we can’t enough of the satisfying sound and feel of a plump apple being plucked from the tree. In fact, we may get just a bit over eager! Like many orchard-goers, sometimes we find ourselves bringing home a few too many apples. Honeycrisp, Jonagold, Crispin, McIntosh – whatever the variety, we have more apples than we know what to do with, and only one pie dish at home! Enter: this easy apple cider recipe.

So, this weekend when you’re rationing out your red, yellow, and green bounty, save some apples for snacking, some for baking, and some for Four-Ingredient Apple Cider, our new favorite recipe for making a serious dent in our post-apple-picking apple inventory! It is especially simple AND great for getting the kids involved. What are you waiting for? Make something delicious with the fruits of your labor!

Read on for the recipe!

Apple Cider Final

Four Ingredient Easy Apple Cider Recipe

INGREDIENTS
3 Pounds Apples (We recommend a variety of types)
16 Cups Water
1 ½ to 2 Cups Light Brown Sugar
4 Cinnamon Sticks
1 Vanilla Bean (optional)

Easy Apple Cider Ingredients

EQUIPMENT
Large Stockpot

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS

Wash and dry the apples. Cut into quarters (no need to core!) and add to a large stockpot. Add water, cinnamon and sugar (up to 2 cups, depending your desired level of sweetness). Heat to a simmer over high, stirring occasionally, then reduce to medium-low. Cover and simmer for 3 hours, or until the apples are very soft. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.

apple cider pre cooking

Once cool enough to handle, using a potato masher, large spoon or fork, mash the apples into the mixture. This step is great for kids!

Apple cider mashing

Carefully pour the mixture through a strainer set over a large bowl. Using a ladle, push the mixture through the strainer; discard any pulp, seeds and cinnamon sticks.

Apple cider straining

Refrigerate, cover and use within 1 week.

One of our other favorite drinks for fall involves hot apple cider and a few other ingredients. Most notably, bourbon! Try this recipe for the perfect Hot Toddy when you’re looking to warm up.

For the rest of your apples, try Five-Ingredient Apple Turnovers, Five Ingredient Cider Caramels, or just add apples to your dinners!

Apple Cider Final 3

Happy fall cooking!

Easy 5-Ingredient Baked Pumpkin Custard

Pumpkin custards make a fantastic easy pumpkin dessert for Thanksgiving, or any other festive fall dinner. They’re the perfect way to end a meal, whether you’re hosting a dinner party with a few good friends, or celebrating the holiday with family members and a Blue Apron box. Make them in place of a traditional dessert, or just serve them alongside your favorite pumpkin pie.

A traditional pumpkin pie has two parts: the crust and the filling. The crust can be a pain to roll out and bake, especially if you’re also cooking up the rest of Thanksgiving dinner. The filling, on the other hand, is a relatively simple baked custard. That custard is the inspiration for what we’ve reproduced here. Without the crust, this seasonal dessert only takes minutes to prepare. Bonus: you’ll get to savor the most amazing Thanksgiving-y scent while they’re in the oven.

When it’s time for dessert, serve these custard cups right in the ramekin, topped with whipped cream.

easy pumpkin dessert ingredients

These delightful custard cups only call for five ingredients: pumpkin puree, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, eggs, and cream.

Is Canned Pumpkin the Same as Pumpkin Puree?

The sort answer here is: sometimes. Canned pumpkin puree is readily available in most grocery stores, especially in the fall. For this recipe, make sure to read the label closely. You’re looking for canned pumpkin puree, not canned pumpkin pie filling (which is already seasoned and sweetened). Of course, you can also make pumpkin puree at home from a whole sugar pumpkin.

pumpkin custard cups

Read on for the full recipe.

Continue reading “Easy 5-Ingredient Baked Pumpkin Custard”

5 Variations on Pumpkin Pie

Pie-Decoration_Pumpkin_Social_531

Let’s face it: for most of us, pumpkin pie only comes around once a year. So why not make the most of its fleeting, deliciously custardy presence? Below, Test Kitchen Manager Claire King shows us five ways to enhance and decorate a pumpkin pie that will make your holiday dessert memorable.

Use a Cookie or Shortbread Crust

Update the traditional graham cracker crust simply by swapping in the same amount of Speculoos or chocolate wafer cookies called for in your favorite recipe.

Swirl Your Filling with Chocolate or Crème Fraîche

Just before transferring the pie to the oven, place 2 ounces crème fraîche or melted chocolate in a piping bag. (If you don’t have a piping bag, you can use a resealable plastic bag with the corner snipped off.) Pipe the topping over the top of the pie, then use a toothpick to create swirls, for a “marbled finish.” These pumpkin pie variations are delicious and beautiful.

Top Your Pie with Pumpkin Seeds

For a pumpkin pie variation with a little more texture, try adding a crunchy topping. Put some pumpkin seeds to use by preheating the oven to 350°F. In a bowl, stir together 1 cup pepitas, 6 tablespoons sugar, 1 beaten egg white and a pinch each of salt, ground allspice and cayenne pepper. Spread the mixture in an even layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Toast for about 10 minutes, or until the pepitas are golden brown and slightly puffy. Immediately season with salt and gently stir, keeping some clumps together. Transfer to a bowl and let cool completely before sprinkling atop your pie.

Garnish with Extra Pie Crust

If you have leftover pie dough, use the scraps to cut out fun shapes, like leaves or acorns. Bake them separately from your pie, then simply arrange on top of the baked pie.

Make Pumpkin Spice Whipped Cream

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine 1 cup heavy whipping cream, 1 teaspoon instant coffee crystals, 3 tablespoons powdered sugar, ¾ teaspoon vanilla and 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice. Whip on high until soft peaks form, then spread or dollop on top of the pie

Cooking With Fall Seasonal Fruits

cooking with fall seasonal fruits cranberries
Cranberry everything

We love a fresh-baked apple pie as much as the next person, but if you ask us, too many fruits get typecast as dessert. Many fall seasonal fruits can play a delicious role in any course. Cooking with fruit is an easy way to add some sweet and savory intrigue into dinner. Below are three easy ways to use fall fruits in savory foods.

The Best Seasonal Fall Fruits to Cook With

Apple Compote

Stewing apple with lemon and simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water) creates a jammy consistency.

apple compote on turkey
Apple compote on turkey is a perfect fall dinner

Ingredients:
2 granny smith apples, cored and small diced
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp water
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
Serves: 2
Try with: light meats, like this roasted turkey breast with farro and endive

Cranberry Chutney

Stewed until thick, citrus zest balances the cranberries’ tart juice with fruity oils. Add cardamom and nutmeg for spice.

Ingredients:
4 oz fresh cranberries
2 Tbsps sugar
1/4 cup water
Juice and zest of 1 navel orange
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 whole cardamom pod (optional)
1/8 tsp grated nutmeg (optional)
Serves: 2
Try with: soft cheese or these seared pork chops Brussels sprouts and grains

Pickled Grapes

The magic happens off the heat: boil the sugar and liquids, then pour into a heatproof container of grapes.

pickled grapes
Grapes our one of our favorite fall seasonal fruits to cook with

Ingredients:
2 oz seedless red grapes, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsps water
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
Serves: 2
Try with: mild fish, like this pan-seared cod with pickled grapes and succotash

fish with fall seasonal fruits

Can’t get enough fall fruit? Make a dessert. Try baking these easy fall-friendly apple pie bars.

Three Spices for Your Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

roasted pumpkin seeds with seasoning

Carving pumpkins in one of the greatest activities of fall. Culinarily speaking, however, the best part comes right after you create your jack o’lantern: making roasted pumpkin seeds. From a food-loving grown-up perspective, the entire pumpkin carving ordeal may just be an excuse to pull out the pumpkin seed seasoning.

How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds, or pepitas, are a true culinary treasure. To make roasted pumpkin seeds at home, the first thing you’ll need is a pumpkin. It doesn’t need to be a small sugar pumpkin. A large carving pumpkin will work perfectly.

pumpkin

To get at the seeds and preserve the shell for carving, you’ll want to cut a lid. With a sharp knife, cut around the stem in a circle or shape of your choosing. Angle the tip of the knife slightly towards the stem, that way you’ll create a wedge-shaped lid that will sit snuggly in your pumpkin without falling through.

remove seeds from pumpkin

Now it’s time to scoop out all those gooey pumpkin seeds. Each pumpkin holds a different quantity of seeds, so don’t bank on having a pumpkin seed feast until you’re sure you’ve got plenty. If you want a guarantee, invite friends over for a carving (and eating) party. Scrape the inside of the pumpking with a large spoon to clean out the seeds. It’s ok if things get a little messy.

Before you roast, you want to rinse the seeds in a big bowl of water to remove the orange slime. Then, the take seeds and place them on a dish towel on the counter. Pat them dry with a towel. You’re now ready to roast and season pumpkin seeds.

cleaning pumpkin seeds

Basic Pumpkin Seed Seasoning

how to roast and season pumpkin seeds

This simple roasted pumpkin seed seasoning is the classic. Preheat the oven to 300°F, then arrange your seeds in one layer on a baking sheet and with a bit of olive oil and a good pinch of salt. Roast for about 30 minutes, until they’re dry and browned. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with a little more salt if you like, and you’re done.

Sweet Roasted Pumpkin Seed Seasoning

roasted pumpkin seed seasoning

The flavors of pumpkin pie obviously pair well with roasted pumpkin seeds. The trick is in getting the nutmeg and cinnamon to stick to slimy seeds. The glue? Egg white. To make a batch of these, you’ll need at least 3 cups of washed, dried seeds from two to three large pumpkins. Start by whisking together one egg white with a teaspoon of water until foamy. Add 1/3 cup of brown sugar and big pinches of cinnamon and nutmeg (throw in ginger and cloves, too, if you have them). Whisk in a pinch of salt, then add the seeds. Use a wooden spoon to help you coat the seeds, then scoop onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast in a 300°F oven for about 30 minutes, tossing every 10 minutes, until the seeds are dry.

Spicy Pumpkin Seed Seasoning

pumpkin seeds with spicy seasoning
Roasted pumpkin seeds with sweet seasoning

Getting spice to stick to your seeds requires the same cooking know-how you acquired in the sweet take, above. Again, start with at least 3 cups of seeds, then whip up an egg white until thick and foamy with a teaspoon of water and add just 2 tablespoons of sugar. Throw in big pinches of your favorite hot spices: we combined smoky chipotle chili powder, peppery ancho chili powder, and cayenne for pure heat. Get some salt in there too, to make the flavors pop. If you’re not a spicy food lover, opt for smoked paprika instead. Same deal for roasting: throw the seeds in one layer on a parchment-lined sheet, then roast until dry in a 300°F oven, tossing every 10 minutes, for about 30 minutes.

In the mood for more pumpkin? Try these festive twists on pumpkin pie.

How to Make Homemade Pear Butter

homemade pear butter on toast
this + a cup of coffee = the perfect fall breakfast

Need something new to spread on your toast on a crisp fall morning? We did—so we developed this luxurious, ultra-delicious homemade pear butter recipe.

Fruit “butters,” like nut butters, are named for their smooth, spreadable consistency. Make this spiced pear butter ahead for about a week’s worth of breakfasts. It’s delicious on toast, but we also like it on oatmeal: stir chopped dark chocolate and toasted hazelnuts into a bowl of plain oats, then top it off with pear butter and more chocolate.

Homemade Spiced Pear Butter

Makes: 1 1/2 cups
Time: 80-90 minutes

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
3 lbs ripe pears (about 5-6 large pears), peeled, cored, and medium diced
1/4 cup apple (or pear) cider
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp kosher salt

Cook the pears:

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat the butter on medium until melted. Add the pears, cider, and lemon juice. Cook, stirring occasionally, 10 to 12 minutes, or until the pears begin to break down. Cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally, 60 to 65 minutes, or until softened and broken down.

pear butter ingredients
Prepared pear cubes

Make the pear puree:

Transfer the cooked pears to a blender. Blend on high until smooth. If you prefer a more rustic texture, you can skip this step and add the spices next.

Cook the pear puree:

Return the pear purée to the same pot. Add the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and salt. Place on the stover over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally and scraping the bottom of the pot to prevent scorching, 6 to 8 minutes, or until thickened.

homemade pear butter
Cook down for a perfect creamy consistency

Acorn Squash Tempura Tacos

Acorn Squash Tempura Tacos
Don’t skip the garnish—fresh cheese and herbs take these tacos to the next level

Tacos don’t need to be meaty to be delicious. These hearty vegetarian squash tacos have all the right flavors and textures. The acorn squash is crispy and tender, with a natural sweetness. Avocados add some cool creaminess, and a mayonnaise-based sauce brings in the rich, smoky, savory flavor you’d get from a traditional carnitas taco.

Ingredients For Acorn Squash Tempura Tacos
Acorn Squash Being Fried In A Pan
Prep your ingredients in advance for a stress-free frying process

Inspired by Roy Choi’s famous Korean short rib taco, we’ve borrowed a few Asian flavors for our recipe, this time from Japan. Our tacos start with acorn squash that gets sliced into wedges, battered, and then crisped up tempura-style. Pro tip: when creating your tempura batter, be sure to work with cold water. This will keep the final product light and crispy.

After the squash is fried we pair it with a smoky, tangy sauce and a few bright herbs to make a delicious vegetarian filling. The crispy squash pairs beautifully with bright queso fresco and creamy avocado.

Get the recipe: Squash Tacos with Tempura Acorn Squash

Acorn Squash Tempura Tacos Finished On A Plate
Double up on those tortillas—you’ll need the extra durability

We’re serving these vegetarian squash tacos in toasted corn tortillas with a wedge of lime. Heating the tortillas for about 30 seconds per side will bring out their best flavors and texture. To do this, simply place a pan on the stove top over medium-high heat, and toss the tortillas in the pan. Work in small batches. Serve each taco on two tortillas for extra stability and the perfect filling to tortilla ratio.

Can’t get enough squash? Check out our guide to spaghetti squash.

How to Braise Anything

Braised Chicken & Smashed Potatoes with Olives, Herbs, & Broccoli

What is braising? 

Before you learn how to braise, let’s figure out what it is. Braising is a slow-cooking method that many home cooks turn to in the fall. It involves searing meat and/or vegetables until they are brown and then cooking slowly over low heat, usually in a Dutch oven or heavy pot. The result is a spoon-tender meal full of rich flavor. 

How to Braise Meat & Other Foods

Use the right cut and the highest quality meat

Tougher cuts of meat make for the best braises. Cuts like brisket and lamb shanks have lots of collagen and fat that will break down during cooking process, giving you a hearty broth. Traditional cuts for braising are typically pretty inexpensive and easy to find. Look for cuts from the shoulder, lower leg, and neck. 

Choose a flavorful braising liquid 

The liquid you choose for your braise depends on what flavor profile you want in your final dish. Usually it will involve some kind of broth or stock, but you can add wine, beer, juice, or condiments like soy sauce and vinegar for more flavor. 

Start with a sear

It’s important to not skip this step of the cooking process. Browning meat and vegetables on all sides before braising is crucial for developing rich flavor. 

Enhance with aromatics

Incorporating aromatic ingredients will add even more flavor and depth to your braise. Try including things like mirepoix (carrots, onion, celery), garlic, and fresh herbs. 

Take it low and slow

This is a cooking process that can’t be rushed. The gentle heat and long cooking time are key to breaking down collagen and fat, and creating extra tender meat.

Pick the best cookware for the job

A Dutch oven or heavy bottomed, oven-safe pot with a tight fitting lid is crucial for a braise. The thick bottom helps achieve a deep initial sear. For the low and slow portion, a Dutch oven will conduct heat evenly while the lid traps in the steam, keeping the moisture inside the pot. 

Refining the braising liquid

For a finished dish that isn’t greasy, you might want to occasionally skim the fat off the top of your braise with a large spoon. You can also choose to reduce the braising liquid into a thicker sauce. To do this just remove the meat when it is done cooking. Strain the braising liquid, return it to the pot, and reduce over medium heat until thick. 

Braising on the stove vs. braising in the oven 

After searing, add the braising liquid and bring it to a boil. From there, you can either transfer the covered pot into the oven, or turn down the heat on the stove to let it gently simmer. There’s no right answer here. If you have a finicky stove top, it may be easier to control the temperature in the oven. The oven provides even heat from all sides, whereas the stove will only heat from the bottom. The stove also requires a stir every once in a while to make sure the food isn’t sticking. No matter which method you choose, it’s still a pretty hands off cooking process, so go with your preference. 

Want to try it out? Get started with this recipe for Braised Chicken Thighs with Caramelized Peppers & Onion over Creamy Polenta.

Baked Sweet Dumpling Squash Recipe

We’re officially in squash season! While we may adore the produce of summerby the time October arrives, we’re craving the sweet yellow flesh of  a squash or pumpkin.

There are a number of varieties of squash, and if you’re a subscriber you’ll be trying many of them soon. But since Food Network’s Fall Fest is about pumpkins today, we wanted to share a recipe for stuffed dumpling squash that could just as easily be made with a tiny sugar pumpkin that looks more like a jack o’lantern than the one we have pictured.

Sugar Pumpkins on a Pan With One Sliced Open

Sugar pumpkins are much smaller than carving pumpkins. You’ll start to see them at the grocery store and farmers’ market this time of year. You’re looking for ones that range from 2 to 4 pounds. Their flesh will be dense, sweet and firm, perfect for cooking up.

Whether you’re using a sweet dumpling squash or a sugar pumpkin, you’ll love the Italian-inspired stuffing that gets baked up inside the vegetable. We start with millet, which we cook up while the squash is in the oven…

Millet in Strainer

In the next pan over, we’re sautéing zucchini, eggplant, and red pepper and seasoning the mixture with vinegar, sugar, and parsley.
sautéing zucchini eggplant and red pepper

We mix all that and add some fresh goat cheese before stuffing the squash with the mixture. Back into the oven they go, for the filling to warm up and the top of the squash to brown. Then, enjoy this delicious vegetarian main that perfectly bridges the seasons.

Baked Sweet Dumpling Squash with Millet and Caponata on a pan

You can get the full recipe for this gorgeous vegetarian dinner over on our recipe card for Baked Sweet Dumpling Squash with Millet & Caponata

We’re happy to be participating in Food Network’s Fall Fest, a weekly blog tour of all the incredible produce we’ll be enjoying this season. This week, the topic is pumpkins! You can see the other bloggers’ delicious pumpkin creations by following the links below.

Napa Farmhouse 1885: Thai Pumpkin and Coconut Soup
Red or Green: Pizza with Red Chile Pumpkin Sauce, Black Beans and Fresh Corn
Devour: Easy Pumpkin Cream Sauce
Virtually Homemade: Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino
Weelicious: Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
The Lemon Bowl: Healthy Baked Mac and Cheese with Pumpkin
The Heritage Cook: Chile-Pumpkin Hummus
Dishing: Pumpkin Browns/ Pumpkin Hash Browns
In Jennie’s Kitchen: Pumpkin Scones
Cooking With Elise: Hearty Pumpkin Pasta
And Love It Too: Paleo Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal
Dishin & Dishes: Pumpkin Pancakes with Maple Cinnamon Pecan Syrup
Domesticate Me: Harvest Pumpkin Soup with Candied Bacon
The Sensitive Epicure: Pumpkin Panna Cotta with Pumpkin Seed Brittle
FN Dish: Cook Pumpkin from the Patch
Taste With The Eyes: Sweet and Spicy Pumpkin Apple Soup with Dried Fruit, Pine Nuts and Ancho Chile
Creative Culinary: Pumpkin Beer Bread with Pumpkin Butter Spread

14 Apple Varieties to Fall in Love With

Different Types of Apples
A fall bounty

Apples are synonymous with fall. Every September, grocery store aisles fill up with dozens of apple varieties. These are some of the types of apples you’ll find this year, what to expect, and the best ways to use them.

Honeycrisp 

In the past few years, Honeycrisp apples have skyrocketed in popularity. Their crisp white flesh and mild sweetness makes them perfect for eating raw, either whole or sliced and added to salads. Honeycrisp apple season ranges from late August to mid September.  

Fuji

Fujis are a light pinkish red apple with yellow flesh. This variety was developed at a research center in Fujisaki, Aomori, Japan, and that’s how they got their name. These typically large apples can remain fresh for up to a year. They’re perfect for making sauce or salads. Fuji apples are also good for baking.  

Pink Lady

pink lady apple
Pink lady apple

Pink Lady is the trademarked name for the Cripps Pink apple. This apple variety is both tart and sweet. This tartness makes it a good choice for baking. 

Gala 

Gala apples are in season from mid-August to September. Their flavor is mildly sweet and juicy. These dark pink apples are perfect for slicing and including in salads.

Granny Smith 

a granny smith apple
Granny Smith apple

Granny Smiths are bright green apples with a firm flesh and a tart flavor. Their lemon-like acidity may make them too tart to eat whole, but these apples will hold their structure well in baked goods and will benefit from the added sugar. 

Red Delicious 

Red delicious apples are known for their bright red skin. These apples are sweet and juicy, with minimal tartness. They are best eaten raw or in salads. Their high-sugar level and soft flesh are not ideal for baking. 

Golden Delicious

Golden Delicious apples are a sunny yellow color. These mild and sweet apples are extremely versatile. They’re good for baking, eating, and using in salads.

Cortland 

Cortland apples were developed at the Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, New York. They’re named for the nearby Cortland County in New York state. Cortland apples are a hybrid of sweet McIntosh apples and hearty Ben Davis apples. The result is a sweet but firm apple perfect for eating raw. 

McIntosh 

McIntosh apples are the national apple of Canada. They have green and red skin and white flesh. McIntosh apples are in season in September. These tart and fragrant apples are good for baking or eating raw. 

Jonagold 

Jonagold apples were developed in 1953 at Cornell University. This mild fruit is a hybrid of Golden Delicious and Jonathan apples. This crossbreeding led to a large golden-and blush-colored apple with thin skin and a sweet flesh. Jonagold apples are good for slicing or baking. 

Empire

an empire apple
Empire apple

Empires apples have a deep red skin and firm, yellowish flesh. They have a sweet and complex flavor. Empire apples are good for eating fresh, making applesauce and serving in salads.

Melrose

Melrose apples are the official apple of Ohio. Melrose apples are large, with yellowish-green skin and dark red streaks. Melrose apples are perfect to use in pies and for other baking projects. They keep well, and their flavor may actually improve as they’re stored. 

Suncrisp

Suncrisp, is a crisp, firm yellow apple with a red blush. Suncrisp apples were developed in New Jersey at Rutgers University. They were developed by cross-breeding Golden Delicious, Cortland, and Cox’s Orange Pippin apples. Suncrisp apples are good for slicing or baking. 

Braeburn 

Braeburn apples have bright red skin with some yellow coloring. Their flesh is firm, and they have a sweet and mild flavor. Braeburn apples are good for baking and eating, and will store well. 

Looking for something to bake with all these apples? Try this recipe for homemade apple pie bars.

Growing Cute Miniature Squash with Bay Baby Produce

Bay Baby produce got their start with an unconventional product: wacky, colorful, ornamental pumpkins. Over time, these hand-painted gourds grew into a full-fledged business. Today, Bay Baby sells edible, decorative, and miniature squash in grocery stores all over the country, as well as in Blue Apron meal kits. 

Farm founders Michele Youngquist and Liz Mitchell have been working together for over 20 years. When they founded Bay Baby produce, they were initially looking for a way to “give pumpkins some personality.” Their first product to come out of this idea became known as Pumpkin Patch Pals®. These miniature pumpkins are decorated by hand, and are meant to embody a goofy, bright personality. Partly inspired by Mitchell’s background as an elementary school teacher, Pumpkin Patch Pals® soon became a way to connect to the community. These silly squash serve as ambassadors of healthy eating to children everywhere. 

Even though it started out as a small creative outlet, Bay Baby is now a thriving organic farm. Mitchell and Youngquist own and operate over 500 acres of land in the Skagit Valley near Mt. Vernon, Washington. The farm has earned a WSDA organic certification, and as members of the Sustainable Farm Trade Association, the team takes environmental stewardship seriously. 

miniature butternut squash
Butterbaby squash, all roasted up

As their business expanded, so did their offerings. Today, Youngquist and Mitchell grow more than just decorative gourds. The team at Bay Bay produces several varieties of hard winter squash, in addition to pie pumpkins. They’re the trusted supplier of butterbaby, a miniature butternut squash that’s just as cute as it sounds, for all Blue Apron boxes. They also worked alongside the chefs at Blue Apron to engineer a miniature spaghetti squash. These tiny squash aren’t just adorable, they’re perfectly portioned to serve two people, making them an ideal addition to any Blue Apron dinner.

Hungry for more? Try Bay Baby produce products in Blue Apron dinner boxes all fall long.