Saturday, October 8, 2011

Pumpkin Patch Prep

Fender and I went with his preschool to a very cute pumpkin patch in Snohomish Washington.  We loved it so much that we decided to make it our family patch and take everyone back there with us this weekend!  But in order to prep for time at the farm, Fender and I made some delicious treats together to take along with us!

What goes better with cold Fall mornings more than apple cider?  Not much in my opinion.  So a couple of days ago, I began the long process of making cider.  Here's how I did it:

Cut up 8-12 apples in quarters and dump them into a large stock pot.

Cover with water and begin bringing the water up to a boil.

Drop in a Cider Beetle (or your favorite Fall spices)  If not using a Cider Beetle make sure to add brown sugar to taste (1/4 c. to 1/2 c is plenty if your apples are sweet!)

Boil the apples covered for an hour and then simmer uncovered for even more.  I simmered my cider over the course of two days, mashing and reducing the liquid until it tasted the way I wanted it to.

Strain the goo and liquid through a small sieve into another large pot or bowl, pressing the "sauce" through until there is no liquid left.  Then re-strain the liquid into a jug or container you will keep in the refrigerator.  This second straining takes out the remaining apple sauce and gives you a delicious clear apple cider to take to the pumpkin patch!

Fender loves making the snacks in his Hi Lights magazine and this round it was a good one!  Homemade granola.  We combined chopped hazelnuts, golden raisins, regular raisins, dried cranberries, oatmeal, maple syrup, and a little vegetable oil.  Baked it at 300 degrees for 40 minutes and now we have a super simple, high-energy treat to keep us going while we hunt for the perfect pumpkins.

And if these aren't sweet enough for us, I made some caramels for our desert!

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