Is there any other more traditional way to celebrate October than apple picking? The boys and I head out to the local farms around here the other week and they had such fun scouring the different rows of apples, sampling the different varieties and announcing their favorites. Empire won easily with Honeycrisp a close second. (And Winesap for their Mama!)
We had such a beautiful day for apple picking, too! Usually when we go it’s either insanely hot, and we’re all sweating and panting in the middle of the orchards, or else it’s unbelievably chilly, where we grab as many apples as we can as fast as we possibly can and escape to some warmth. But we were fortunate this year to have a perfect blue sunny day. The boys were able to take their time and explore, and we were all able to really take some time to explore the orchards.
There’s such a huge difference in flavor between freshly picked apples and those sold in the supermarkets here, with waxy peels and a much blander flavor. No, the apples we collected were sweeter than candy.
Of course, there are only so many apples a family can eat before the little ones get tired of fresh apples for a snack and the huge baskets of unpreserved, unwaxed apples start to get a little bit soft and spotty, and all of a sudden the baking and putting up of apples that I had planned to do “soon” became necessary a lot earlier.
(As an aside, do anyone else’s kids take two or three bites of an apple before they’re done? I had figured I’d chop those apples up for baking instead of wasting them, so I had a little spot where I told the kids to put their unfinished apples – not realizing that they go bad much quicker than I would have thought!)
Anyway, the process began, and I peeled, chopped, and peeled apple after apple after apple, all the while growing a little alarmed at how many big, overflowing bowls of apple slices I had, not to mention the huge bowl of apple scraps, peels and cores. I hate to throw those away, though, so I found a good use for them making apple cider vinegar. This will be my first time making it, so I have my fingers crossed that all will turn out well and that I’m not throwing away all those peels and cores two months from not, moldy and mushy, instead of today. I have high hopes. They’re on my countertop now and they’ll be transferred to my dark corner cabinet as soon as the fermentation starts. I’m actually pretty excited on how they’ll turn out.
All this apple picking, apple peeling, and apple recipe collecting while standing alone there in the kitchen inspired me to daydream a little about how nicely an apple dishcloth or hotpad would be as an addition to the kitchen. Don’t all country kitchens need something apple-y? Anyway, before I knew it, I had ditched the whole mess of apples right there in the kitchen and dug out some cotton yarn scraps, and before long, I had a lovely little pattern made up. And once those apples were all chopped and peeled, with some dehydrating, and some in the crockpot for applesauce, and some in the oven in an apple cake, I sat down and wrote up the pattern. I should have it here tomorrow for a free download for anyone else who might like to overindulge in apples!
Until then, I’m off to make up for lost time with some more apple goodness from the kitchen. I have requests for apple pancakes and I’ve had hot apple cider on my mind. What’s your favorite apple recipe?