Apple Picking and Pumpkin Finding.

Our trip to the Catskills was wonderful and the grand finale was a stop on the way home to pick apples.

Traditions are important to a person’s sense of belonging and military kids have many of the typical traditions stripped away from them because they don’t stay in one place for too long. It’s my job as a military household organizer to create traditions we can enjoy no matter where we are.

Apple picking is one thing we love to do, and I always make two homemade apple pies from our loot. One for immediate consumption, one to freeze for Thanksgiving.

One of my favorite apple picking memories was from 2012 when Parker was 2 1/2 years old. He was so adorable and I was at the height of my photography skills. Click here to enjoy his cuteness and what my bigs looked like when they were 11, 9, and 8.

This year we stopped at Fishkill Farms and picked 40 lbs of apples, an amount I thought was going to be way too many, but as it turns out, we’ve consumed all but two of them so far. Half went into pies and the other half, a variety we’ve never tried before, Jona Gold, were for snacking. We have a new favorite around here!

Parker – 10.5 years old
Anna – 4.5+ years old – please check out the candy corn earrings! These were a mission of ours… we wanted earrings to match the t-shirt!
Rare photo with all five kids!

Because we don’t get out of the city much, (COVID, school, life…) I decided to have the kids pick pumpkins at the same place to kill two birds with one stone. Turns out, these pumpkins were not grown there, but transplanted. So… we didn’t “pick” pumpkins as much as we “found” them sitting in a dusty field. We took three home for decorations, paying way too much, but they do remind us of our fun trip every time we walk up our front sidewalk. I guess they are doing the job we require of them.

I cheated and bought these adorable pumpkins at the commissary.
Coffee on the back deck, with carved pumpkins (that are being eaten by squirrels, making them look extra creepy!) These pumpkins were brought over by a friend and they carved their hearts out.

In past years, I’ve made my apple pie filling on the stovetop but this year I decided to try a different method: the Instant Pot! I did a little research, found a few recipes that looked good, and tried three different batches. The first came out like applesauce (3 min; Hi; QR), the second was perfect! (0 min; Lo; QR). I did the third batch exactly like the second and had the same results. Apples that were soft but still had texture and retained their shape.

I made the first pie with apples and half of the applesauce, and we ate that pie right away. I made (and froze) the second pie with the remaining apples. I loved the simplicity of using the IP and kept the skins and peelings in lemon water for a few days, boiling some with cinnamon to make my house smell like fall.

These became pies.
We made a mess, but we peeled and cored all of those apples – and needed a second container!
Not waste! We used these (a little at a time) to make our house smell like fall. Any time someone finished an apple we threw their core in the simmering water.
This is the one we ate already. The second is in the freezer and will be baked on Thanksgiving, then coated with Cathy’s glaze.

I spent hours on the phone one day getting our health care stuff set up. BORING. I decided to entertain myself and make a single-serve apple pie. SO ADORABLE!!

Artistry, no. Tasty, yes.

This tradition is one that I love to keep. My kids know that every year, no matter where we are, we’re going to get (find/pick/buy) apples, and I’m going to make two apple pies. We’re going to eat one right away. The house is going to smell like cinnamon apples for a few days and on Thanksgiving we’ll pull out the second pie and eat it with vanilla ice cream, surprised at how fast time flew between the date we picked apples and Thanksgiving. I can’t always predict where we’ll be and I can never predict who we’ll celebrate Thanksgiving with, but this is one part of our family’s rhythm that I do have control over.

One last picture… from last year! We went to a farm and saw a dog, bought some pumpkins, and then went to Aldi to buy the apples we needed to make pie.

Pics from 2019:


About Jennifer

"Yes, they're all mine." The answer to the question I hear most often.
This entry was posted in family, food/recipes, military, travel. Bookmark the permalink.

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