Two Peas, Friends and Enchanted Apples

I miss summer it has been one heck of a winter in Ohio….not that I am complaining but it made me want to blog about summer! So here it is (-:  

For the last two years my friend Jennifer has invited us to apple pick with her family at Fruit-Full Acres in Marysville, OH.  The girls and I love it here the owners Beckie and Thomas Congrove are always so helpful and so kid friendly.

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Their trees are pruned as such that little hands can pick the apples easily, this is why Jen always goes here not to mention the apples are the best! 

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They encourage you to try the apples just make sure you dispose of them properly  in buckets they have at the end of every row of trees to keep down the bees! 

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These two may have filled a bucket themselves EEK 

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While our littlest pickers enjoyed that part WAY too much our oldest girls were helping the Moms find just the right ones to make all things apple when we got home!

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Pyper had plans BIG apple plans she loves to cook and bake so this was pretty cool for her to get her own ingredients.

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What a lucky boy with all those girls around LOL!  SO off we went home first up would be apple pie filling YUM! 

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We took buckets in the car and transferred our bushel bags into them so they wouldn’t bounce all over the car. Easier to clean too! 

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We cut the apples, and filled the jars 

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then started the process  I looked at over 30 recipes all different so I decided to take from each and do my own…..

I used approx 8-9 pounds of apples we mixed Jonathan and MacIntosh about 40 medium sized (some were eaten as they were cut gotta love those little peas) 
I did not boil them half the recipes showed to boil half didn’t I like simple so I DID NOT boil the apples.

I ended up with 7 Quart jars full 

For the syrup (or whatever they call it LOL) this is where I got creative…

 9½ cups water; 4½ cups sugar; 1 cup cornstarch (most call for Clear Jel I admit they were out at the store so I had to do the starch I hear Clear Jel is a lot better!);  1 teaspoon salt; 1 1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon;  ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg;  3 tablespoons lemon juice and here is what NO one had and I understand its because we added most on the spices individually but I added MORE ….

 

I love it it’s right next to the pumpkin pie spice and I had to try it….later I looked on Pinterest and saw where you can make your own and I will this year!

Put all the filling ingredients together in a large pot and simmer until thick 

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Once it has thickened you pour the mixture into the jars to the top if you have a funnel that will make it easier and less messy then place the lids on….make sure the sides are clear of any of the mixture or they may not seal correctly.

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Once the jars are filled start the canning process (that guy in the back was looking up the apple butter recipe!) 

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Since I do not have a canner, I simply get the largest pot I own and fill with water making sure at least two inches of the jars are immersed.  Bring to boil for at least 20-30 minutes you may or may not hear the tops pop.  Once the time is over wipe the jars clean they will be hot! place on a towel overnight you may hear the popping once they start to cool down.  Leave over night to cool down properly and if they “popped” you can store up to a year in a cool dry spot.

Next we made Apple Butter and Apple Sauce (more on that in the next post)  ….. this years apple recipes turned out amazing! I was so happy with the result we are currently down to 4 apple pie fillings from this first batch we ended up making about 14 jars, gave some away and ate some too! 

Two Peas, a bushel and a peck!

This year my friend Jen and I took all the kids to Fruitful Farms to pick apples.  I always wanted to go and this year seemed perfect.  Once we got there the kids were too excited! They even posed for a pic right away (and yes this is when I realized little pea put her shoes on the wrong feet! we fixed that after I got the shot LOL)

We got out bags from the farmer and he took us all on his wagon to show us what was ready to pick and what apples were used for what.

He then took us to the best tree for our first photo op seems like he has done this before he even took the picture so I could be in one! (it was pretty early in the morning as you can see by Maxwell yawning)

Then onto the picking!

Our only rules from Farmer Congrove were to make sure that whatever apples were eaten we put the cores go in the buckets so that hornets don’t go after them from the ground.  He encourages us to eat as many apples as we wanted to try to make sure we liked them…..well Phoebe took that to heart.

Pyper was a little more picky like me (-:

Phoebe and Maxwell had a blast they talked the whole time and compared apples.  They even made a game looking for conjoined apples.

I made the mistake of saying they looked like apple butts and there you go. The Find the Apple Butt Game was born.  I have a feeling it will be around for many years to come (oh gosh).

I tried to get a picture of my peas together and it was difficult Phoebe and Max were attached like an apple butt but I got her to sorta stand still. (it took 8 shots to get Phoebe to look at me!)

Farmer and Mrs. Congrove checked in on us often sometimes picking up children and taking them for quick rides around the orchard.  Phoebe loved it she felt like such a big girl! (apples in hand)

Not to be left out as soon as Mrs. Congrove came around they ALL jumped on! This was not part of the apple picking experience but we were the only ones there; once the farm started filling up with pickers the rides stopped.  But, how great of them to do it for the kids while they could.

I got this picture of Py on my cell phone what a lucky shot!

Eating MORE apples ….

Just remember the rules to avoid hornets making nest in the ground make sure your apple cores go in the bucket!

The signs next to the trees and buckets let us know what variety the apple tree was and if it was good for cooking, eating or both.  They also gave you examples of which apple was just for sauce, pie, jelly etc.  I appreciated that because I am such a novice but really wanted to make lots of apple foods!

We picked just a little more before we had to head out…..

One last ride up to the barn to pay.

We picked a bushel and a peck and grabbed a small bag of honey crisp on our way out, it was very reasonable I spent $26 for all of them.  But the fun we had and the special way the kids were treated made it worth every penny!

Fruit Full Acres, Inc.

19817 Raymond Road
Marysville, OH 43040
937-642-6961

Beckie and Thomas Congrove – Owners

http://www.pickyourown.org/OHcolumbus.htm

http://www.ohioapples.com/ohio_apple_orchards_member.php?memberid=21