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Which is the best time of the year to go apple picking?
When the produce aisles in the Fresh Market start filling up with apples, you know for sure summer has ended.
Come Fall , the apple season begins.
Depending on where you live, there are different varieties of apples grown. They ripen at different times of the season. The end of September and the beginning of October is the best time to go apple picking in most of the US.
Go Apple Picking !
If Apple picking is in your bucket list of things to do in Fall, you definitely must. The fresh air will do you good.It is more fun with children, since their enthusiasm and joy of running through the orchards, will rub off on you. Moreover the Fall activity is a lot of fun & less taxing.
Driving to the countryside on a weekend, filled with corn fields on both sides can be a treat you give yourself. The golden corn fields is sure to take your mind off the hustle & bustle of city life & the mundane.So go on, find the nearest orchard & plan to go apple picking on a Fall weekend!
Arriving at the Apple Orchard
Following the country path lined with corn fields, we slowly entered the zone where we spotted apple trees lining the country road on either side.
We knew we were getting closer to our destination when we spotted the largest parking lot. The parking lot at the apple orchard was buzzing with activity. Both young & old were happily walking towards the orchards, baskets in hand.
Wagon ride & Tour guide
We bought our tickets and stood in line along with others, to take the wagon ride to the center of the orchard.
Our tour guide explained to us about the rules of the orchard, the different varieties of apples grown there, and how the apples of different varieties taste.
Until then, I had no idea their tartness or sweetness determined, into the making of a pie or a cake!
The different varieties of apple
Needless, to say the orchard had miles and miles of apple trees lined up ready for picking, of all shapes, sizes and flavors…..
There were 63 varieties of apple ready for the picking, we were told. Depending on their taste, they went into making pie, sauce or to be just eaten fresh.
Tips on how to pick your apples
- You should be able to gently pull the ripe apples away from the tree without tugging too hard. If it is difficult to twist and pull the apple off, it’s most likely not ready for picking. Be patient!
- Full size apples might fall from the tree & need not necessarily be damaged, so watch out.
- A mature apple will be slightly softer & have a good ripe flavor. Taste one before you pick others.
- Whether it be yellow, green, pink or red apples you are picking, the color must be consistent for that variety of apple.
- Brown seeds are an indication of maturity while light green or white seeds indicate the apples may need a few more days or weeks.
The Apple picking begins!
We were taken to the center of the apple orchards in our wagon & let loose to pick our own apples.Can’t really say who was most excited, the children or the grown ups. There is a joy in being amidst nature & picking its ripe fruits in gay abandon, that is priceless.
With our hands, bags & baskets full of different kinds of apple we returned to the barn, where we could smell fresh apple cider, yummy pies. We got to taste some fudge treats and caramel apples in there.
We returned happy, checking the bucket list item off of our Fall list of things to do.
How to preserve the apples you bring home?
Now that you have your apples, picked, sort them according to the different varieties . Deciding on how you would like to use them in your different recipes and then preserving them accordingly, is important.
Some of the well known ways to preserve apples are:
- Canning : Apples can be canned using the traditional water bath method, steam canning, or pressure canning. You can choose to can them in a simple syrup, or in a blend of spices to make a canned, apple pie filling.Canned apples can be used a simple snack or can be used to make apple sauce.
- Freezing : Freezing apples changes the texture, hence they are mostly used for making baked goods.Sliced apples should be dipped in water and lemon juice before freezing in an airtight container or a freezer bag.
- Drying : You can dry the apples into crispy chips or make a chewy, fruit leather. Dried apple chips taste delicious in homemade trail mix.You can adjust the flavor & sugar content when you make chewy apple leather at home, making it a healthy treat for children.
Apple recipes to try this Fall
- Apple pie
- Apple cake
- Apple butter
- Apple cider
- Apple chutney
- Caramelized apples
- Apple Crisp
- Apple shortbreads
Now that the holiday season is close at the heels of Fall, a gentle suggestion for you- canned and dried apple chips make for great holiday gifts! Tie a pretty ribbon around your can, place your dried apple chips in a beautiful homemade linen bag and gift them to family & friends this holiday season.They will love your thoughtfulness!
The Bottom Line
Have you gone apple picking this Fall?
Here is list of places you can check out if you live in and around Chicago land area to go apple picking this Fall.
What are some of the recipes you have tried making with apples ? Share some of your fun memories from apple picking trips.
Do fun Fall activities like these bring joy to you ? It sure does for me ! Share some of your bucket list items to do in Fall!