When you have a kid (or two, or three) in tow, getting “out” can sometimes feel like more effort than it’s worth—especially when fall begins and the weather gets chilly. But apple picking season brings plenty of great family-friendly activities you can partake in, from going on hay rides to having an outdoor picnic at your local orchard.
Here’s everything you need to know before planning your picture-perfect afternoon of apple picking.
Find the Right Orchard For You
Depending on where you live, you might have many apple orchard options, or just a few. Consider what’s important to you: the very best apples (organic, heirloom), picnic tables, activities for kids, distance from home, and scenery. Try to match your destination to your goal.
The Weather is Everything
Apple picking is more about enjoying the beautiful scenery than it is about the actual apples. Don’t forget to check the weather forecast before you head out the door: you’ll want to avoid apple picking if there are signs of rain clouds.
Bring the Essentials
Most apple orchards provide public picking as well as a bucket, but they might not all have lunch or beverage options available. Parents, these are the items you should consider packing:
- Plenty of road snacks for young kids. We find the OXO Tot Flippy Snack Cup with a travel cover to be useful when you’re on-the-go.
- Baby carriers since apple picking with a stroller is a challenge.
- Brown bag lunch with these essential items: the OXO Roll Up Bib and Spoon Set. You can always research kid-approved lunch ideas nearby or make these kid-friendly recipes or fall purees in advance.
- Grab this On-The-Go Wipes Dispenser so diaper-changing is easy no matter where in the orchard you happen to be.
- Lots of water!
Lastly, stay away from the ladders: while some people might tell you the very best apples are up high, you’ll get plenty of delicious apples within arms reach.
Now that you’ve collected your fruit, try your hand at these recipes that call for fresh apples or this spiced apple shrub drink. But first, our Sugar-free Applesauce recipe below is a must to make when you get home from apple picking.
How to Make Sugar-free Applesauce
- 8 apples (use a sweet variety like Honeycrisp or Fuji)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- ½ cup water, plus more, if needed
- Peel your apples with a swivel peeler, then core and slice your apples. This step is easier with one of these pop-out apple dividers.
- Add the apple slices, cinnamon stick, and water to an 8-qt Covered Stockpot. Heat over medium-high, close the lid and reduce to medium. Cook the apples for about 15 minutes. Watch them closely and add water, if needed. Remove the lid, and continue cooking until the apples are super soft and easily break apart when you prod them with a wooden spoon.
- Puree the soft apples with an immersion blender right in the pot. Let cool, then transfer to a storage container.