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It’s officially fall, but we have the recipe for a great weekend adventure. There’s still a lot more nature to explore and more outdoor family fun to find! From picking apples to preserving your harvest, the season is ripe for family fun!
The recent harvest moon marked the end of the summer growing season and signified the time for the harvest. It’s a time of abundance, best shared with those you care about most. The harvest moon is special because it rises earlier and provides an added boost of light—historically enjoyed by farmers since it allowed them extra time to complete their harvests.
While most of us are not farmers, we can still get a literal taste of what the harvest is like. There are many pick-your-own farms that allow people to spend some time at a farm or an orchard. They are a great way to connect children with nature and show them exactly where their food comes from. These farms and orchards also provide adults a chance to get away and enjoy some simple solitude.
If you’re new to this, it might help to start with something simple. One of our favorite fall-time activities is apple picking. A word to the wise, children can quickly gather much more than
an apple a day can sustain. If you’re left with a surplus, don’t fret; here’s a simple, yet delicious recipe idea to lengthen the lifespan of your harvest and let you enjoy the fruits of your labor well past fall. As a bonus, food always seems to taste better when you’ve been involved from picking to processing—and children seem to agree!
Apple Leather Recipe:
- 4 cups apples (washed, cored and chopped)
- ½ cup water
- 4 teaspoons lemon juice
- Cinnamon, nutmeg or allspice to taste (optional)
- 1 tablespoon honey or 3/4 tablespoon agave nectar (optional)
*Substitute strawberries, raspberries or other fruit (to total four cups of fruit) instead of spices
*Strawberries add natural sweetness and makes the leather smoother and more pliable.
Place chopped fruit and water in a pot. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Place cooked apples and water in a blender or food processor and purée. Add honey, lemon juice and spices to taste. Blend again until mixture is very smooth.
To avoid plastic wrap, line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Be careful not to over-dry the purée because it will stick. You may also use a non-stick baking mat, like Silpat. Pour out the mixture onto the lined baking sheet, making sure it is a consistent 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick so it dries evenly.
Heat oven to 140 degrees and place the apple purée on the rack. Allow to dry until the mixture is no longer sticky and has a smooth, leathery texture. This usually takes 8 to 14 hours, so we recommend doing it overnight so you don’t tie up your oven. If you have a convection oven, it will speed up the process. We used a food dehydrator which, of course, works well, too.
When the fruit leather is ready, peel it off the paper, baking mat or tray, and roll it up. Keep it in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator or freezer.