It’s a crisp, fall day in the orchard and ripe apples are everywhere. You spent all afternoon picking these red and golden beauties, and now it’s time to head home from your u-pick adventure. After you load up the car and breathe in that intoxicating scent of fresh fruit, you might be wondering – what do I do with all these apples?
Luckily, apples are one of the best storage fruits around. Unlike berries, which must be eaten fresh or processed right after picking, the bounty of a u-pick apple experience can extend all winter. First, decide what you’d like to eat fresh. Sweeter, softer varieties are best for eating right away, while firmer tart apples can be stored for months. Put the storage apples in a root cellar, basement, or other cool, dark place, and eat the sweet apples over the next couple weeks.
Another tasty way to enjoy apples is to make a batch of apple butter in the crock pot. Eat the apple butter fresh, or put it in the freezer to savor the flavor of fall all year. Applesauce is another way to put the fruit to use. Families often have recipes that have been passed down for generations, so ask your grandma or neighbor for their favorite applesauce recipe – or start your own tradition.
Once you process all those apples, try a new orchard or apple growing region to compare varieties and meet new apple growers. Some orchards have cider and hayrides – a perfect way to spend an autumn afternoon while adding to your apple stockpile.
Find dozens of apple orchards in Western North Carolina and beyond at appalachiangrown.org
Aired: September 11, 2017