Tuesday, November 27, 2012

apple-picking


A few weeks ago, R and I had a weekend getaway in Tahoe.  On our way home, we decided to head over to Apple Hill area to a u-pick apple farm.  It really was a beautiful fall afternoon; warm and sunny (the perfect opportunity to fulfill one of my goals).  I  have actually never been a big apple fan.  I guess maybe it was too many Red Delicious growing up, but I have never acquired much of a liking to them.  However, I was very curious about apple picking.  R and I have been to a couple other fruit picking farms, and I loved the idea picking apples in the fall.  California is amazingly diverse in produce, and I love any opportunity to learn more about different agriculture.

We stopped at Bolster Hilltop Ranch, but there were many to choose from just an hour west of Tahoe.  The woman at the counter pointed us in the direction of the orchards and handed us 3 plastic bags and a long stick with basket on the end (proper tool name-not sure?).  All I know is it was twice the height of me!  For the most part though, the apples we chose were hanging on lower branches and on shorter trees.  One of the amazing things about these apple farms is also the variety of the kinds of apples.  We came home with 23 pounds of golden delicious, braeburn, fuji and arkansas blacks.




Me with the apple picker and a couple of apples that I managed to get down without dropping.
The loot.


What to do with 23 pounds of apples is another story...  We stored them in the coolest place in our apartment for a week or so, until we had the time to make applesauce.  This is something that R has been looking forward to for a long time.  However, it required us to get a kitchen aid mixer (well, that was on the list to get eventually anyways) and a food grinder.

We followed a recipe in this book, which is an excellent source for all things preserving!  After all the chopping, it was actually relatively simple.  Just cook apples until soft, put through the food grinder (which was really a lot of fun), add a tad bit of sugar...and applesauce is made.  Finally, R canned it to keep for later use.

I also was able to make 2 dozen cinnamon-apple muffins and a pitcher of fresh apple juice.  I may have found a new appreciation for apples.

Using our brand new kitchen aid mixer!  so exciting!

The results of the picked apples!
Top-apple-cinnamon applesauce, middle-R using our juicer for fresh apple juice and bottom-2 dozen muffins

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