When To Pick Apples, and Apple Pie Pancake

Ragged Hill Orchard, West Brookfield, Massachusetts. (Russell Steven Powell)
Honeycrisp apples, Ragged Hill Orchard, West Brookfield, Massachusetts. (Russell Steven Powell)
The gleaming counter at Ragged Hill Cider, West Brookfield, Massachusetts, is ready for Saturday’s grand opening from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. (Russell Steven Powell)

APPLE SEASON is full upon us! But depending on where you live, you may find some varieties are earlier than usual, while others are later. 

New England is looking at a good apple crop this year, though the timing is variable, even within states or regions.

Midseason varieties like Gala, Honeycrisp, and McIntosh are ready for picking at some New England orchards this weekend.

MOST ORCHARDS have beautiful early season varieties like Ginger Gold, PaulaRed, and Zestar!, and some grow the heirloom Gravenstein, and the more recent Akane and Sansa. These apples should be enjoyed now for peak flavor and crispness, as their season is short, and they do not store as well as later season varieties.

Peaches, plums, pears, grapes, even apricots round out the fruit at many orchards, in addition to vegetables and pumpkins. Now is the perfect time to visit the orchard!

These Gala apples at Ragged Hill Orchard, West Brookfield, Massachusetts, are just days away from picking. (Russell Steven Powell)

Yet not all of this bounty unfolds at the same time in the same place. If you are looking for a particular apple, call ahead to see if it’s available. 

Consult the Orchard listings on our website, newenglandapples.org, which include a link to their websites, or scroll through our catalog of more than 120 Apples to learn more about the variety you want, as well as a list of orchards that grow it. 

This young Macoun apple at Easy Pickin’s Orchard in Enfield, Connecticut, shown in late August, needs a few more weeks to develop its characteristic color and flavor. (Russell Steven Powell)
Apple Pie Pancake. (Russell Steven Powell)

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CALL IT a pancake, call it a pie, call it an upside-down cake. This is delicious by any name, and it’s easy to make.

Apple Pie Pancake

THIS RECIPE was adapted from Marion Cunningham’s 1987 Breakfast Book, one of our favorite cookbooks. As always, we retain the apple’s peel for flavor, color, and nutrition.

4 T butter

2 large New England apples, cored and sliced

juice from one lemon (3T)

1/2 t cinnamon

4 T confectioners’ sugar

3 eggs, room temperature

1/4 c flour

1/4 c whole wheat flour

1/4 t salt

1/2 c plain yogurt

2 T butter, melted


Preheat oven to 425°F.

Melt 4 T butter in 10-inch skillet. Remove from heat. If skillet is not ovenproof, wrap handle with several layers of tinfoil.

Stir apples and lemon juice together in a large bowl. Mix cinnamon with sugar, add to apples, and toss lightly.

Return skillet to stove on medium heat, and add apples. Cook, stirring often, for 3-4 minutes, until apples are tender but still hold their shape.

In a separate bowl, combine eggs, salt, flours, yogurt, and 2 T melted butter. Stir until smooth.

Spread apples evenly over bottom of skillet, and pour batter on top.

Bake for 20 minutes, until golden and puffy.

Turn onto platter immediately, so apples are on top.

Serve at once.

Apple Pie Pancake in Ovenproof Skillet. (Russell Steven Powell)

Related apples (sweet to tart)