A couple of weeks ago we enjoyed another one of our annual U-Pick traditions. This time: Apples! It was a perfect fall day! The wind had a slight chill, but we were comfortable in pants and a light coat. The coats even came off as we got into the middle of picking. The trees were very prolific!! We picked a full bushel of apples in 20 minutes, and that was picking at a leisurely pace.
Our favorite Apple Orchard is Cider Mill Family Orchard. It is located at 3341 N. 139th Street in Kansas City, KS. It is just off of K-7. When you are going north on K-7 it is immediately after Leavenworth Rd. There is no entrance fee to this Orchard. The Orchard does an excellent job of keeping their picking report up to date on their Facebook page…they will even update it throughout the day. Make sure you check it out before driving to the patch!! They are open Thursday thru Friday 9-5pm and Sunday 12-5pm. At the Orchard they provide a hayrack ride out to the trees that is always fun for our kids. They even provide the ingredients for you to make smores! We learned that they do not waste any of the apples. The fallen apples are either taken to a homeless shelter if they are still good or taken to a mill to be made into applesauce for local shelters. This is definitely a cause I can support!
I love giving my kids an opportunity to see where their food comes from and making them “work” for it. (This orchard made it easy to “work” for our food! )Apples were everywhere!! Our favorite variety so far is the Gold Rush. They taste similar to Gala even though they are a green apple. The prices are great: $8 for 10 lbs, $15 for 20 pounds and $26 for a Bushel or 40 pounds of Apples. This time we got a Bushel, so I have lots of apples to process!
I always make a couple of batches of homemade applesauce to put into canning jars to freeze. Dried apples are our favorite apple snack. I haven’t figured out how to stay ahead of the kids and Nate. Each batch seems to disappear before I can get them in a container. I need a 20 tray dehydrator instead of my 3 tray. Do you think they make such a thing? 🙂 Apple cake and apples with caramel dip have also been checked off the list.
This year I came across a new apple recipe. I think it has become my favorite! It is the Pioneer Woman’s Apple Fritters. They are amazing!! It is definitely worth trying!! Luke and I made a batch last week and I think I will have to come up with another excuse to make another one this week!
There are still a few more weeks left to go pick some apples. So if you haven’t done it yet, put it on your calendar. It will be a great family outing!!
Here is how I make my homemade applesauce…
10 large apples, peeled, cored and diced (I have to do about 15 of the orchard apples since they are smaller)
½ cup water
1 tsp cinnamon
(I do not add any sugar but you can add sugar to taste if you desire)
Put all of the ingredients in a crock pot and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4. You can tell by the smell when it is close to being done, and you basically can cook it until your desired consistency. Nate and I like it chunky so I try to catch it a little earlier so some of the chucks stay intact. The kids like their applesauce smooth so I cook theirs a little longer. I do stir it a couple times during the cooking process to make sure one part isn’t getting overcooked.