By Jennifer Halter
September. Although some are sad to see summer officially come to an end this month, there are many
who are equally as excited to kick off the new season of autumn. With cooler temperatures on the horizon and a variety of festivals and other activities on tap, fall is the perfect time to make plans to get outdoors. One of our favorite activities as a family is to go apple picking at some of our local orchards.
Apples are a favorite fruit of many and are one of the easiest to pick and to use for cooking and crafts. Not only do they have a long shelf life, but they can be used in a wide variety of recipes that are sure to please every member of the family. Here are some tips to make your next trip to the apple orchard a successful one:
1. Look for apples that are firm and bruise-free. These will last longer than those that may have a few blemishes or discoloration.
2. Make a list of the varieties of apples you would like to pick. Some are better used for baking, while others are perfect for simple snacking. If you’re unsure of what to look for, ask the farmer or orchard attendant what would work best for your needs.
3. Be sure to gently place apples in your basket or bag. Sometimes, little ones can get overly excited and will want to throw them, which can cause bruising.
4. When picking apples directly from the tree, be sure to twist them rather than just pulling them off the branch. Keeping the stem intact will prolong the shelf life of your apples.
5. Don’t forget about the apples that are already on the ground. Sometimes they are there because they’ve fallen off the tree while another one was being picked and are in perfectly good shape.
However, if you have younger children who may want to pick up apples from the ground to eat, be sure to check them first to make sure they are in good shape and have no rotten spots.
6. Wash your apples before eating, but not right after you pick them. Again, this is a way to make them last longer.
7. Once you get your apples home, keep them in a cool, dry place, such as your basement or the refrigerator. Avoid storing them in places that may receive direct sun or near appliances that may
8. Be sure to bring your camera to the orchard! Not only can you capture the family in action enjoying the experience, but you can get some great shots for those upcoming holiday greeting cards.
Remember, the family’s fun doesn’t end once you leave the orchard. Everyone can help with creating goodies, such as applesauce, pies, apple chips and one of our favorites, apple butter. You can also let the children do crafts, such as apple stamping, or you can teach them about the life cycle of an apple. The possibilities are endless.
Jennifer Halter ([email protected]) is the founder of Macaroni Kid in Woodbridge and