Plan an Apple Picking Outing with Kids
Fall Fun – Apple picking outing
An apple picking outing is a popular family tradition in autumn. It gets the kids out in the fresh air and shows them food doesn’t only come from the supermarket. Choose a pick-it-yourself orchard with dwarf trees your kids can reach and you’re set for a fun fall day.
In some areas, universities and college extensions include orchards on their grounds. Some counties feature farm-parks to teach children about pioneer times. Commercial orchards usually offer corn mazes and rides. Check the internet to see what’s available, and ask your friends for their favorites.
Remember to call your destination orchard and find out what’s ripe. Ask which of the orchard’s varieties keep best, and inquire about the different uses for each. Apple harvest season is long, so you may want to wait for a particular variety. You’ll need to know hours and fees, and whether the orchard offers apple bins or boxes for harvesting.
What to bring when apple picking
Some grocery stores will pack your groceries in suitable boxes if you ask, or you can grab empty boxes up front to haul your apples out of the orchard. If you don’t see any, ask! Bags work for apples, but take care not to bruise what you gather. Dad and Mom should carry all the bags or boxes so they don’t get dropped.
If the weather’s good, pack a picnic blanket and stock a basket. Orchards often have tables, but they can fill fast and be too busy to host your picnic. Pack a thermos of hot chocolate and make sandwiches for easy eating. Remember to wash apples before gobbling them down.
Apple picking with children
Apple picking with children is an adventure. Parents should show the kids the basics of careful picking so the little ones can choose good apples and nothing goes to waste. Apples should be firm, with no bruises or soft spots. Ripe apples can be any color, including green. Just ensure the apples you pick are the right color for their variety.
Take an apple off the tree by twisting it upward off the branch. It should come free easily. Don’t pull an apple straight off, and don’t shake branches. Tell the kids to ‘sneak’ them off the trees.
Apples on the ends of branches are generally riper, and apples will not ripen once off the tree. If kids drop them on the ground, they’re still OK to eat, but should be washed first.
Take the spoils home
At home, keep apples cool. The vegetable bin works, and so does a basement, especially if you wrap each apple in newspaper. You should store apples away from potatoes, which give off a gas that rots fruit. Lastly, don’t wash an apple until you’re ready to eat it.
Cooking apples are those that stand up to baking without turning to mush. They’re fine for eating raw, too. These varieties include McIntosh, Granny Smith, Jonathan and Pink Lady. There are many more.
Depending on size, it takes five or six apples to make a pie. You can also make apple pancakes, mint apple jelly or apple butter. Or fill the house with the warm and welcoming aroma of cinnamon-baked apples served in a pretty casserole dish. The bounty from your apple picking outing will give you many wonderful winter meals.