I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels this way, but 2020 has been a struggle. Since March, our family has been social distancing champions. We have gone to very few places (mostly grocery stores) and have stayed away from most family and friends (even missed a wedding because of it, which made us really upset).
The only places we have gone would be to two national parks in our town. The ability to social distance and be outside in the fresh air was the only way we felt comfortable.
This past weekend we went a little out of our home base radius and went apple picking.
We have done this for the past six years and it was nice to do something that made life feel more normal.
A lot of people must have had the same idea because the orchard was really busy. It was the perfect combination of mid-sixty degree weather and perfect sunny skies.
After waiting in line for just a few minutes, we settled on getting two pecks of apples. (Each adult had to have a bag and the 1/2 peck bags seemed to be too small.)
Armed with a bag in hand we set off to find our favorite varities of apple.
The orchards had just opened again that day after being closed for a few weeks so the fruit could ripen more.
If you look at the picture to the right you can see the apples we had to choose from.
I don't know about you, but I'm not a fan of the "delicious" apples. Their soft texture makes me feel like they have gotten too soft and are sliding down the slope of "soon-to-be rotten."
We did get a few golden delicious because they taste pretty good in pies and other apple baked dishes.
Walking through the rows upon rows of apple trees made life seem normal in this not so normal time.
Our kiddo was picking her far share of apples and trying to take photos for her photography club at the same time. With each apple she made sure it went into "her" bag. I didn't want to break it to her, but all the apples would be washed and mixed together when we got home.
There was something just so pure about being out in nature and thankful for all we have. It's so easy to see everything we don't have or the things we can't do, that we miss what is in front of us. I received some sad news about a person I had known for years passing away, most likely from cancer, over the weekend. I had no idea the last time I said goodbye would be the last time, ever. It helped put things into focus a little more.
Things are hard and far from perfect. But, if we keep on reaching for the big, juicy, red apples in front of us, things might just be okay.
When we got home I dumped our loot into the sink that was filled with produce washing solution I had picked up from Trader Joes awhile back.
I use it on all of produce. You just put a capful in, let it soak for a little while, drain, and dry.
Currently, our fruit bowl is filled to the point of bursting with precariously balanced apples. I did use a few to make WW apple dumplings, which turned out okay, but the dough needed a little more sweetness.
When it comes to apples, I turn into Bubba Gump who had a million and one recipes for shrimp. Except for me, it's apples.
So in my future, there will be lots of baked apples, apple nachos, apple pies, apple turnovers, apple sauce, and more.
If you have any favorite apple recipes to share, leave a comment below.