Autumn has always been my most favorite time of year. I enjoy the crisp, cool air and the many beautiful colors of the changing leaves and the bright colors of the hardy mums planted around the lamp post. School is now back in session, and we are now settling into a comfortable routine. When I think of autumn, one thing that always comes to mind first is the availability of the many different types of apples that are available in my area.
My favorite routine of the season is going to Kercher’s Apple Orchard and picking apples. This past weekend, we attended the Harvest Festival at the orchard. It was a chilly and crisp morning, as we walked among the trees pulling our little red wagon with our bushel baskets inside. Stopping in several different sections, we picked Red and Yellow Delicious, Jonathan and Cortland. By the time we were finished, we had a bushel of each variety.
You can’t visit Kercher’s without a visit to the pumpkin patch, so our next activity was climbing aboard the hayride to go pick our perfect pumpkin. This usually takes us a while. My husband and I suggest different pumpkins, but our youngest daughter always gets the final say.
After getting our pumpkin, we catch a ride over to the orchard market and gift shop. Here you will find a wonderful selection of homemade treats, such as caramel apples, whoopie pies, cookies and apple cider. This is where I kick off the start of autumn with my first caramel apple of the season!
The whole reason for our annual trip to pick apples, is so that my wonderful husband can make us some of his delicious applesauce. We love apples anyway, but my daughter & I have a particular fondness for daddy’s applesauce. He agreed to share his recipe.
4 bushels of apples 6 c water 4 tbsp cinnamon 8 c granulated sugar 43 canning jars
Peel and core the apples. Cut into quarters. Place in a large Dutch oven, add water and cinnamon. Bring to a boil, stirring. Cover and simmer about 30 minutes. Remove from heat, mash and add the sugar. Fill with applesauce, leaving a 1/2″ head space. Seal with lids and place filled jars in a hot water bath for 12 minutes.
This made 43 quarts of applesauce “for our winter eating”, to quote my husband. He really thinks it will last that long. Apparently he forgot that last year we ate all before the first of the year!