How much is half a bushel?
Technically, it is 4 pecks or 8 gallons.
After this weekend, to me, it means 26.6 lbs of apples.
Or 66 apples!
And a bargain at $15.75 (60c/lb!)
(our bushel was slightly rounded, hehe)
Last weekend, Rob and I travelled to Birtch Farms for some DIY apple picking. We were expecting to come home with Cortland and Empire, but were tickled pink when we found out that Mutsu (aka Crispin), Jonagold and Ida Red were also ripe for picking!
Rob had never had Mutsu before, and thankfully we were encouraged to sample the apples first to figure out which we preferred. Mutsu was the clear winner for a snacking apple, followed by the Ida Red. While the Jonagold is a cross between a Jonathan and Golden Delicious, I thought it tasted too much like a Gala for me to enjoy it. Sadly, we missed the Honeycrisp picking season, and I don’t think they grow Ambrosia out here, which are my 2 favourite snacking apples. Mutsu will be my go-to apple for the next month or so, though!
Rob also picked up some fresh apple cider for the road and when we returned I made this delicious soup.
A butternut squash soup with pear, apple cider and vanilla from Orangette.
Who says vanilla is only for sweet desserts?
Add it to your savoury dishes, as well.
Sometimes you can go too sweet with squash but here, everything was balanced nicely. The pear and cider are sweet, but the vanilla calms it down. It was smooth and creamy from the squash and milk. A delightful light, creamy soup.
Perfect for your next Thanksgiving meal. Or any day you want a delicious heart-warming soup.
Butternut Squash Soup with Pear, Apple Cider and Vanilla
2 tbsp olive oil
2 -lb butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces (5-6 cups)
2 firm-ripe pears, peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 cup apple cider
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup nondairy milk
1 vanilla bean, about 7 inches long
Fresh chives, finely chopped, for garnish (optional)
1. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or small stockpot over medium-low heat. Add the squash, pears, and onion, stir to coat with oil, and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes, until the onion is soft and transparent and the pears are starting to fall apart.
2. Add the cider, and bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the broth, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer the mixture, partially covered, for about 30 minutes, until the squash is tender.
3. Turn off the heat and use an immersion blender to puree the soup. Taste and season it with salt. Continue to cook the soup over medium-low heat, uncovered, until it has reduced to about 1/2 to 1/3 of its original volume. Stir occasionally. The final consistency is up to you; when it reaches a thickness that seems right—not too thin, not too thick—it’s ready.
4. While the soup is reducing, put the milkin a small saucepan. Cut the vanilla bean lengthwise into two long strips. Using the back of your knife, scrape the tiny black seeds out of the bean. Scoop the seeds and the bean halves into the pan with the milk, and put the pan over low heat. Warm the milk until it is steaming, but not boiling. Remove it from the heat, remove and discard the vanilla bean halves, and whisk to break up any clumps of seeds in the cream. Set aside.
5. When the soup has reduced to its desired thickness, stir in the milk, taking care to not leave any little black seeds behind in the saucepan. Taste, and adjust seasoning as necessary. Serve, garnished with chives.