Ever since we were little we have both enjoyed picking fruit. My family spent fall weekends working at the apple orchard that our good family friends owned around the corner from us in Stow, MA. My husband worked at apple orchards and remembers picking apples during breaks during soccer games. Both of our family's had big vegetable gardens growing up and our dad's loved to garden. My mom loves flowers but the vegetable growing was left to our father's. Both of them with green thumbs.
As a family one of our favorite traditions is picking fruit together. Every time Rod's sister came up from North Carolina in the fall for the Bolton Fair we would go apple picking. Ride the tractor with the driver balancing an apple on his head out to the orchards. The bag is always bursting with apples. Our bellies are too. We love to eat the fresh apples and then come home and bake apple pies and apple crisps together. We even freeze a few for the winter months so that we can enjoy the fresh taste of a homemade apple pie or crisp in the middle of winter. So delicious! I always bring my camera along to capture a beautiful fall day. Such fun fall memories, past and present.
When Summer comes it's time for more picking fun! Strawberries are always in season right around Father's Day, Dance Recitals and the end of the school year. It's such a busy time of year but we always manage to squeeze in strawberry picking too. Not sure what we'd do without those sun-ripened strawberries or the delicious freezer jam we make from them. Our kids only eat this delicious jam. It's easy and homemade. We grab a small jar from the freezer and bring it with us to the beach or the ski mountain along with peanut butter and a loaf of bread. PB & J's on the go. What a wonderful way to capture a taste of summer all year long! This year we made Three Sister's Strawberry Jam and gave a jar to each of the girl's teachers along with a berry colander. It was our way of saying thank you for such a sweet school year!
Next is blueberries. Perhaps our favorite to pick. We go to a little place called Gianettes in Franklin MA. Two brothers bought adjacent properties years ago and didn't know what to do with all the acreage in back of their houses. They decided to plant blueberry bushes and now they share them with the public. It is a family business with grandparents checking people in, grandchildren handing you picking buckets and moms and dads ringing you out. Love this place. It's only open Fridays and Saturdays so the picking is always great. Nothing better than reaching out and having a handful of blueberries just fall into your hand. Big, blue, juicy. So delicious and healthy! We usually bring our DD blueberry ice coffees to keep cool while we pick. And we pick. And we pick. We often go back a second time. Believe it or not 16 plus pounds is usually not enough for us. Last year we ran out of our supply in the freezer in February. So sad! This year we must pick more! We came home and made fresh blueberry muffins and ate an entire bag by the next day. The rest will be frozen for smoothies, Bing's pancakes, and blueberry crisp and muffins.
We have picked cherries in the past and when I was a kid we always picked peaches. Both delicious but we don't feel the need to pick those every year. Right now Apples, strawberries and blueberries are our favorite. Can't imagine our freezer not bursting with strawberries, blueberries and apple pies. Delicious family memories to enjoy year round!
Here are a few of our favorite recipes to share:
Apple/Blueberry/Peach Crisp-Enjoy with your favorite fruit and some vanilla ice-cream on top
Preheat Oven to 375
Grease brownie or lasagna pan with butter
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup oats
3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 stick of soft butter
Crumble over top of fresh washed fruit/Dice apples and peaches/leave blueberries whole
Pour 1/4 cup water over top of crumble
Bake and Enjoy!
Three Sisters Strawberry Jam- a.k.a. Strawberry Freezer Jam
Bing's Pancakes- Great with blueberries, strawberries, bananas and/or chocolate chips mixed in
1/2 cup milk
2 Tablespoons oil
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 Tablespoons sugar
Mix together. Add more milk to make batter thinner.
(We have these almost every weekend. The girls and Rod have the recipe memorized.)