Harvest to Holiday

If you ever needed a reason to crawl into a crockpot and close the lid, this is it. Just the smell alone is worth making¬†apple butter. Apple peeling is time consuming but this apple peeler is a major time saver! Other than that, this could not be an easier recipe. With a busy family of three young kids, I’m always looking for the intersection of ease and highest reward; biggest bang for my buck!

We’ve put our backyard garden to sleep for the winter and all of our harvesting activities of the autumn season have come and gone. Fall is my absolute favorite of the seasons even though they all have beauty to behold. I try to pull the autumnal season along as far as I can. I remember apple picking as a child and I think it was a preschool or kindergarten field trip. It’s really one of very few memories that I have from that age and I think it’s because of so many sights and smells that surrounded me. It’s become one of my favorite things to do together as a family now. The smell of peaches picked will forever remind me of our first trip to the Michigan coast as we traveled along unpacking them at each stop, the smell would fill or next BnB. As soon as we open the car door after pulling into Molly’s Vineyard, we literally drink in the smell of the Concord grapes. We don’t leave without a gallon of fresh grape juice to go. The peaceful June breeze of blueberry picking might just be my all-time favorite. We have picked a whole lot of produce over the years and I have pickers and eaters in our tribe. Somehow the pickers always outdo the eaters so we have baskets, bushels, and barrels of produce to bring home. Before we even make it through the door, I’m googling what to do with it because we cannot possibly eat it all before it starts to go bad.

Over the past few years we have transformed our harvest into holiday gifts for our teachers, friends, and family. This year it’s apple butter and concord grape jam. Apples are a plenty in September and October and grapes have a short window of ripening time over about four weeks overlapping within that same time. Regardless of what you you have access to pick, canning is an awesome way to preserve your harvest to give as gifts. We do a little research before we go using these two books. “How Do Apples Grow?” by Betsy Maestro and “The Grapes Grow Sweet” by Lynne Tuft. Knowing how food gets to our table is really important. If children only see food in a cart at the store or delivered to the doorstep, we will see a greater disconnect of humans to the dependency we have on our Earth. Taking time to understand the process will encourage care and concern for our environment and planet and build perspective of the hard work it takes to cultivate, harvest, and cook the food we eat.

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