The apple harvest obviously took a hit this year, but the pumpkin crops seem fine. I went to the farmers market last weekend, eager to get a heaping batch of large honey crisp apples – my favorite. I paid $12 for ten apples the size of plums. Instantly, my dreams of using my favorite apple for all sorts of goodies were dashed. This fall, instead of overpaying for apples, use pumpkins instead.
Caramel-covered apples are a staple of the season, and it might be hard to give that up, but caramel is just as delicious with pumpkin. Have you ever tried salted pumpkin caramels? Making your own caramels might be a pain, but they sound delicious – check out a recipe here. You could also buy or make your own pumpkin caramel sauce and drizzle it on pancakes, waffles, cinnamon rolls or coffee. If you have a big pumpkin sweet tooth, make these. After a batch of those, you won’t even remember you couldn’t buy apples!
If going to the apple orchard is your thing, you can still go, but you might not be able to pick many apples. Instead, head to the pumpkin patch. Have everyone pick out their own pumpkins to decorate and pick up a few for baking. Take some time to look at the different varieties of pumpkins, and be creative with your choices. Maybe instead of the perfectly round orange pumpkin, you could go with an oblong oval one with white speckles. If you’re really into cooking with pumpkins, do some research before you get started to see which types are best for the meals you want to create.
The good news is that I don’t think the frost we had in spring is affecting our apple cider, it might just be a little more expensive – because if we’re honest, it’s really tough to beat cuddling up with a hot cup of apple cider. But, if you haven’t had a pumpkin spice latte yet this season, you’re missing out. I’m willing to bet that by next fall you’ll be craving it just as much as that cup of cider.
If you really can’t live without apples, but you don’t want to pay top dollar, buy an apple-scented candle. I have one, and it smells exactly like an apple. Perhaps you can fool your senses if you flood your house with the scent of apple pie (or maybe that’ll just make you want it more, who knows).
Anything apples can make, pumpkins can probably make too – pumpkin butter, pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, etc. Don’t be discouraged with the apple harvest this year like I was. Just remember how happy we were when we had that taste of summer in the middle of March (who knew the following frost would kill our dreams of an apple-filled fall). Try substituting pumpkins this year, and maybe you’ll come up with your new favorite treat.