Fall Apple Recipes

Article and Photo by Sylvia Coleman

Apple Cultivation in Sonoma County

Fall is the best time of year to harvest apples in Sonoma County, specifically the Gravenstein apple, as it grows best here. The Gravenstein apple was believed to have been brought here by Spaniards or European colonizers hundreds of years ago. 

Sonoma County is great for apples of all kinds, but the Gravenstein is most popular here since it grows in very few locations and is endangered. Apples used to be the most cultivated crop in Sonoma County, but now vineyards grow in place of many orchards. Luckily, it is still a very common crop. Every year when apple picking season comes along, this delicious fruit is celebrated at Sonoma County’s Gravenstein Apple Fair. This usually happens every August, but was postponed during 2020 due to COVID-19. 

These tangy, but sweet fruits make excellent recipes of all kinds and are great for baking, snacks and even salads. These apples are very rare and Sonoma County is extremely lucky to be able to have them. Here are some recipes you can make at home for yourself or with friends and family, to appreciate the Gravenstein apples. 

Fun Fact: The ‘Gravenstein Highway’ was named after the apple because it was built where there was a Gravenstein apple orchard with thousands of acres!

Hot Apple Cider:

Servings: 8-10 glasses


-10 apples

-2 oranges

-2 tbsp cinnamon/4 cinnamon sticks

-1 nutmeg

-1tsp clove

-1tsp fresh ginger (opt.)

  1. Put all the ingredients into a large pot and bring to a boil on medium heat
  2. Once it boils, turn the heat down to let it simmer and take out the oranges. Let it simmer for 30 minutes. (Or longer if you want.)
  3. After the apples are a little softer, with a masher or a spoon, mash the apples into the sides of the pot to let the flavor out.
  4. Strain the cider, so there are no longer bits and pieces left and get rid of the waste.
  5. Serve warm and enjoy!

Apple Pie:                                                                                              

Serving: One pie


-Crust-store bought or other

-8 cups sliced apples 

-¼ cup sugar

-2/4 cup sugar

-2 tbsp flour

-1 tbsp cinnamon

-1 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°. Mix all ingredients except for crust into a mixing bowl until all apples are covered. 
  2. Bake at 425° covered in tinfoil for 45 min
  3. Take the pie out of the oven and take the tinfoil off, wait until cool
  4. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

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