September is proving to be a fairly busy month for me, so I’ve been a little behind on keeping up with the blog! Luckily most of my activities have been enjoyable and will give me some ideas for upcoming posts. This past weekend our Sunday was spent up in Blue Ridge, Georgia picking apples for the first time.
I do not know how I have missed out on such a fun seasonal activity for so long. I have fond memories of picking strawberries with my grandfather when my sisters and I were very young, and my boyfriend and I did make it out this summer to get some fresh berries. Perhaps that was a good primer to finally get out to the orchard, as well!
Mercier Orchards is a beautiful place. They have over 100,000 trees and all different varieties of apples. The store is enormous–with all kinds of baked goodies, cider and locally-made wares. Getting out in the orchard to pick your fruit straight from the tree is really enjoyable, but they also have lots of pre-picked apples for sale if you do not have the time or energy to pick your own.
It is always a wonderful experience to get your food straight from the tree. These days it is so easy to just go to the store (or even order your groceries to have delivered from an app!) and get all of your food right in one spot. I think too many times we forget where that food really came from. Even just one experience picking apples, strawberries or whatever you can find near you can help you reconnect with the food chain. For children I think it is especially important to see at least one small part of how the food they eat is produced.
Since we came back with almost 30 pounds of apples, I will have lots of apple recipes coming up! I started out with some easy homemade applesauce yesterday. Using fresh apples really makes all the difference in how delicious the final product tastes. For this particular recipe I used a 3-quart slow cooker, but if you use a larger one it is very easy to adapt. Just add more apples and a bit more seasoning if you’d like to make an even bigger batch! We picked 4-5 different types of apples, so I used a variety of each.
Simple Slow Cooker Applesauce
Makes 3-4 Cups
- 8-10 medium apples, peeled & cut into chunks
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
Place all of the ingredients in the slow cooker and mix the spices in with the apples. Cook on high for 2-2 1/2 hours or until your apples soften and start to fall apart. If you would like chunky applesauce, mash with a potato masher or if you prefer smoother, use an immersion blender to puree.