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All over North America, orchards are opening their gates for apple lovers to enjoy pick-your-own privileges among the fruit-laden trees. So why not make a weekend of it? To kick things off, gather friends and family for a day in the orchard. “One of my favorite things is apple picking as a family outing. It’s something everyone can do, it’s outside, and everybody gets to eat while doing it,” says Sharon Soons, head of retail operations at Soons Orchards in New Hampton, N.Y.
The following recipes offer everything you need to enjoy the fruits of your labor all weekend long and for weeks to come.
Make it a two-day cooking and eating extravaganza, or string it out to last the season.
SNACKS & EXTRAS
1. Go early. “You want to get there before people go crazy and while there are still lots of ripe apples on the trees,” says Sharon Soons of Soons Orchards in New Hampton, N.Y.
2. Don’t yank. Grasp an apple, twist at the stem, and bend upward; it should snap off. If it doesn’t, the apple isn’t ripe yet.
3. Keep ’em cool. Store just-picked apples in a plastic bag or in the crisper drawer in the fridge. Otherwise they can get mealy.