Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Apple Mania

It's apple-harvesting season in Minnesota!
On Monday, we went to Applewood Orchard in Lakeville with a group of friends, hoping to come home with loads of delicious fresh-off-the-tree apples.  Unfortunately, most of the varieties were picked over, but we discovered we liked the Honeygolds.

Boo was delighted to pick his own apples.

 Believe me, I could post a hundred pictures of my kids standing in the orchard eating apples...

...and finally being able to wear their cute cold-weather clothes.

Sometimes conquering a hay stack means disregarding the rules about throwing hay.

We had a wonderful morning.  Both Boo and Punky ate their fill of Honeygolds, and we bought pre-picked bags of Cortlands and Honeycrisps from the orchard before leaving.

From picking apples on Monday, we went to making our own cider on Tuesday at the Wood Lake Nature Center.  We are taking parent-child, nature-themed preschool classes.  They are geared toward Boo's age, but Punky gets to come along and has a lot of fun too.

We took turns by family, going up to the old-fashioned apple press, dropping in some apples, and turning the wheel.  The kids were invited to peer down inside to watch the big metal teeth chewing up the apples.  Then we waited for a few minutes while the apple mash oxidized.  Our teacher explained how apples are pollinated by bees and showed us how the inside of an apple looks like a star.

When the apples turned nice and brown, the teacher turned the wheel at the top of the press and the juice ran out into a pitcher.  Everyone got a cup of apple cider, but had to wait for a countdown to drink it.

 Poor Boo.  He looked longingly at his cup and said, "I don't like waiting."  But he did wait and I'm so proud of him.

The cider was amazing.  It was a mix of several apple varieties and it had a sweet-tart, punchy, rich flavor.  I even let Punky have a sip of mine, knowing where it came from and that it would be safe for her.  It's so rare that we have an activity where she's allowed to eat or drink what everyone else is having.  We went ahead and signed up for the next classes in this series so we will have more outdoor adventures in the future.

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