Market Watch: Pick Your Own

This is best time of year to visit a local farm and harvest some of your own fall favorites with your own two hands. You can get apples, pears or pumpkins and turn them into seasonal dishes like these Pear and Apple Muffins.

This is best time of year to visit a local farm and harvest some of your own fall favorites -- apples, pears and pumpkins. Collect your bounty (and you'll have tons) and transform them into seasonal dishes, including my easy Pear and Apple Muffins.

My local pick-your-own farm is Bishops Orchards in Guilford, Conn. I’ve been going there since I was a little girl, and I plan to keep up the tradition with my little one that's on the way. With this season's pick, I will be making applesauce (great for holiday gifts) and other apple treats for weeks. Yesterday, I combined freshly picked apples with Bartlett and Devoe pears (from my CSA box) into delicious muffins.

To find the nearest PYO farm, contact your state agriculture board or search PickYourOwn.org and see what's around.

Pear and Apple Muffins

Makes 12 large muffins
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup honey
1 cup shredded pears*
1 cup shredded apple *
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup apple butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup unsweetened soymilk
1 cup unbleached, organic, all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, divided

*Shred fruit using a box grater or a food processor fitted with the shredding blade.

Pre-heat the oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners or spray with nonstick cooking spray. In a medium saucepan, combine maple syrup, honey, shredded fruit, cinnamon, nutmeg, canola oil, apple butter, vanilla and soymilk. Heat on low for 2 to 3 minutes, mixing well. Set the mixture aside to cool for 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, sift together the dry ingredients (flours, baking soda and salt). Combine the fruit mixture with the dry ingredients to form a batter. Stir in half of the walnuts. Scoop batter into the muffin tins. Sprinkle with remaining walnuts and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick pushed in the center comes out clean.

Nutrition Info (per muffin):
Calories: 253
Total Fat: 8.5 grams
Saturated Fat: 0.5 grams
Total Carbohydrate: 43 grams
Protein: 4 grams
Sodium: 267 milligrams
Cholesterol: 0 milligrams
Fiber: 3 gram
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