Take an Apple Picking Daycation
The air has a crispness to it. The temperature has cooled. There is that wonderful scent, like the last legs of a barbecue, in the air. The leaves are changing color and falling to the ground. There is a crunch every time you take a step.The days are beginning to shorten. The kids are back in school. Pumpkins guard every front stoop. People are already beginning to panic about the holidays. That’s right. It’s fall. The greatest season of the year is here. While fall often means it’s time to wind down vacations and get back to the grind of the regular work week, it is also a season ripe with fresh and tasty fruits and vegetables. Fall is a wonderful time of year. Especially so when it comes to the mouth-wateringly good healthy treats you get to consume during this special season that happens but once a year.
Butternut and acorn squash, artichokes, Brussels sprouts, pears, cranberries, pumpkin (meaning you are pretty much obligated to pumpkin spice everything), sweet potatoes, grapes, kumquats, pineapple, and much, much more. Yes, many of these you can get year round, but they are never better than they are right now. Great for eating on their own, even better as ingredients in a home-cooked meal, such as caramelized pear and roasted cauliflower quiche or brussels sprouts and sweet potato hash with apple butter sauce. But the best part of the fall produce season is probably apples. It’s not just that apples are a tasty and healthy treat, or that you can use them in applesauce, pies, and for cooking. Apple picking is a fun activity for the whole family that makes for a great daycation. From coast to coast, you can go to an apple farm and pick fresh apples right off a tree. Pick them at the height of ripeness and freshness, and you get to snack as you go. It’s a great outing that people of all ages will enjoy. Whether you love to cook or not, apple picking is a great fall activity.
The Best Apple?
There is a lot of debate about what is the best kind of apple. Our pick of the favorite is Macouns, but they tend to be an East Coast thing. When you go to a farm, ask for a guide to apple types. There are some that are better for applesauce, like Cortlands or Fuji, others that are really juicy, such as Honeycrisp, and apples that are superb in salads, such as the gala. Do you want a slightly tart apple, like an empire, or a sweet apple, like golden delicious? Make sure you know what you want to use your apples for and pick the type accordingly.
It’s also important to know when in the season is the right time to pick the type of apple you are looking for. For instance, MacIntosh is best picked in early September, while jonagolds are best kept on the trees until October. When picking, keep in mind that apples ripen from the outside of the tree in. Apples don’t bruise easily, but you still need to be careful handling them. A ripe apple will be crisp and firm. Color is not as important as feel because apples come in a variety of colors. When you head to the farm, come equipped with a basket and an empty stomach. You will leave with both filled. Enjoy the season!