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PastaQueen picked a peck of apples

Jennette in the orchard

Yesterday, I put on my apple pickin’ hat, my apple pickin’ boots and my apple pickin’ shades and went to pick some pumpkins. Okay, I’m just screwing with you, I actually picked some apples. To be precise, PastaQueen picked a peck of apples at the Anderson Orchards near Mooresville. (I also want to note that I still have both of my legs, although the photo above makes it look like I only have one. I swear I have not become so desperate to lose weight that I have cut off a limb.)

Apple orchard

Anderson Orchards is located southwest of Indianapolis. It’s tucked away a few miles off of I-70 and accessible via twisty country roads. My friend Jenny gathered a group of her friends and we traveled to the orchards on a bright and cool sunny day, perfect weather for picking. We parked in a gravel parking lot in front of the orchard and walked to the gravel road that runs through the middle of the orchard.

Upick prices

A man there was handing out plastic bags that were labeled “1 peck” and “1/2 bushel.” He gave us a good piece of advice, which was, “The bags are heavier coming back.” This is why they allowed people to drive their cars back through the orchard, but our group was content to walk. He told us it was ok to sample an apple off of a tree, and also told us, “No apple fights!” I am assuming someone at some time had an apple fight, and they probably made applesauce of someone’s face.

Apple signs

Each row of trees had a sign in front of it labeling the type of apples growing there. I hadn’t heard of half these breeds, but they were all fairly tasty. I liked the Scarlet Beauty apples, or as we called them the “Scarlet Booty” apples. As a tall person, I clearly had an apple picking advantage because I was able to pluck fruit off the higher limbs that had been neglected by shorter people.

When we had collected our bounty, we walked back down the gravel road and had to pass through the apple border control. Cars were made to open their trunks to ensure they weren’t thieving. I paid $7.00 for my peck of apples. I weighed them when I got home and learned I’d gathered 10 pounds of apples, meaning they cost me $0.70 a pound. This is a pretty good price, even after you factor in the gas money I spent getting there. Of course, I now have 10 pounds of apples sitting my kitchen, so I am looking for creative recipes to use before they spoil.

Before we left the orchard, we went into the store where they were selling picked apples, grapes, tomatoes, pumpkins, pumpkin rolls (mmmm, pumpkin rolls), candy corn, fudge (mmmm, fudge), apple butter, popcorn, candy apples and basically anything you can make with apples. I would like credit for not buying any of these delicious concoctions, and settling only for some cider and an apple turnover for lunch. For my dietary diligence, I was rewarded by a swarm of bees and wasps trying to eat my turnover. I was literally batting them away with my fork, accidentally sending them into Lisa’s face who was sitting across from me. The pests had no interest in the apple cobbler or apple slushies or biscuits and apple butter my friends had ordered. They only wanted my turnover, which was basically a piece of apple pie enclosed in a crust pocket and drizzled with icing.

When I returned home, I looked up a peck on Wikipedia, since the only thing I knew about it was that Peter Piper had picked one back in the day. Wikipedia said a peck is equivalent to two gallons. There are four pecks in a bushel, and all this odd naming is a reminder of why most countries have switched to the metric system.

For your reference, this is what a peck of apples looks like:

A peck of apples

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22 Comments

Heidi • October 5, 2009 at 10:36 am

Our family loves going to Anderson’s every year. The kids love to pick their own apples…who am I kidding, they go for the apple slushies. They make a mean apple turnover!

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Lyn • October 5, 2009 at 10:51 am

Hey PQ :)

Last night I made a tasty apple dish with dinner. I cored 2 big apples, peeled a chunk of butternut squash about the same volume as the apples, then cut them into small (1/2″) cubes. I tossed them with lots of cinnamon, some nutmeg, vanilla, a few chopped pecans, and 1T brown sugar. Then stirred in 1T melted butter and a sprinkling of Wondra flour. Covered and baked at 350 for almost an hour. Man, was it good… not terribly sweet but good enough as a side for pork tenderloin and tastes an awful lot like apple pie filling.

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psychsarah • October 5, 2009 at 12:17 pm

I love apple picking! When I was a kid, my family went every year-even when I had a cast on my leg from hip to toe! My Dad lifted me up into the trees that year, so I could still pick some apples myself. What a fun fall activity! I keep my apples in the fridge when I have lots like that, and they keep pretty well. I also adore making “baked apples” for breakfast. Core an apple, stuff in some granola/oats/raisins/whatever you like and a bit of brown sugar, cinnamon and butter (optional, but tasty), and nuke it with a little bit of water/apple juice in the bowl until it softens up. It’s like baked goods for breakfast, but it’s healthy! Yum!

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Bethama • October 5, 2009 at 12:50 pm

I didn’t try this, but a bag of lentil soup mix I recently made suggested throwing some chopped apples in with the rest of the more conventional soup produce (I believe in lieu of tomatoes). Couldn’t hurt, I reckon…

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maxie • October 5, 2009 at 1:00 pm

Just picked apples should keep in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks and still be crisp and tasty. I just put them in a plastic bag, but don’t seal it, and keep them away from other fruit. I have this stupid shallow drawer in my fridge that’s worthless, except for keeping my apples.

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Debbi • October 5, 2009 at 5:42 pm

Well, this isn’t especially diet-friendly, but it’s delish! Use any old apple pie recipe but when you’re adding spices, throw in some freshly ground nutmeg and a pinch of cloves with the cinnamon. Then toss in a handful of coarsely chopped walnuts. Proceed with any old apple pie recipe: filling, top crust, sealing, etc.

And don’t forget chopped walnuts and apples tossed in your oatmeal. I bought a peck of apples this weekend, too, but mine were twice as spendy … I guess because I didn’t pick them!

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MB • October 5, 2009 at 6:02 pm

Looks like you had lots of fun apple picking. I’m jealous you can reach the high ones. I’ve never heard of Scarlet Beauty apples – I’ll have to look for them. I’m hoping to go apple picking this weekend. My favorite is Honey Crisp but I always end up with a belly ache from trying to many varities.

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kat • October 5, 2009 at 6:10 pm

If you had waited a bit longer, we might have “run into” eachother again!

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Sean • October 5, 2009 at 6:14 pm

This is the first time I have ever read your blog – i liked it :-) I found your name linked into one of my friends blog (The Burb Blog) apparently you are following her – anyway – I wanted to recommend one of my all time favorite apple recipes of all time – German Apple Cake. I quickly googled it to see if there was a recipe like my Aunts on the net and this one looks like it is close (http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/German-Apple-Cake-II/Detail.aspx).

Enjoy – and if you try it you should save me a piece. ;-)

Sean

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Mymsie • October 5, 2009 at 7:09 pm

Looks like a fun outing! I love fall. :)

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trishie • October 5, 2009 at 8:42 pm

I am a fan of baked apples!! Mmmm. Recipies are online, and they are pretty healthy too!!

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Dillah • October 5, 2009 at 9:01 pm

An apple slush (with a pinch of cinnamon & sugar?) sounds divine and very October. I have to try that.

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sephgirl • October 5, 2009 at 9:30 pm

Looks like a great day! And some nice apples. You have some great recipes already.

My all-time favourite apple recipe is apple crisp. I can pretend it is healthy what with it having apples and oatmeal in it!

Here is a standard recipe: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Apple-Oatmeal-Crisp/Detail.aspx

And here’s one with a Canadian twist (seeing as I’m from the Great White North): http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Maple-Apple-Crisp/Detail.aspx

I always use way more cinnamon than it calls for but I love cinnamon.

Served with low-fat vanilla yogurt, either of these would be yummy!

I love your book and I love your blog! :)

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Deb • October 5, 2009 at 10:21 pm

What a fun outing! Makes me want to look for something around here like that.

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Merry • October 5, 2009 at 11:33 pm

Dang it! After reading all those comments I am most definitely feeling peckish.

(Oh come on. I had to say it.)

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baretta • October 6, 2009 at 1:38 am

thanks for showing me what a peck looks like!

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Fal • October 6, 2009 at 7:00 am

I could recommend a ridiculously awesome apple cake recipe, but the problem is that it’s also ridiculously addictive and not particularly healthful. Let me know if you want me to and I will, otherwise I will save you the temptation.

I will recommend making apple crisp, though. Very easy- core and slice a bunch of apples, remove about half the peel (you can remove all of it if you want but I like leaving some on for fiber etc.), mix with cinnamon, cloves, and allspice to taste (or just apple pie spice), add a generous splash of rum if you want, put in a baking dish and cover with rolled oats and more cinnamon. You can put sugar in it if you like, but it’s pretty good without. …. now that I think about it you should probably also add a pat of butter, but you could probably get away without that too. Chuck it in the oven at 350 for about 25-30 minutes, enjoy~

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Deb H • October 6, 2009 at 7:34 am

We were at an Apple Festival this past Saturday in PA. It’s most definitely apple time. I bought a peck of apples too…

My stepmom makes a simple Waldorf Salad recipe, it’s pretty yummy and the best part is it’s EZ :

WALDORF SALAD

1 c. celery, diced

1/3 c. walnuts, chopped

1/2 c. low-fat yogurt (plain, vanilla, or orange)

1 c. unpeeled apple, diced

1/3 c. raisins

ENJOY

Combine celery, apples, nuts, and raisins. Blend yogurt into mixture. Serves 6. (Mayonnaise may be substituted for yogurt.)

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TifosiGirl • October 7, 2009 at 1:31 am

I was visiting a friend and just so happened to go apple picking for the very first time at Stuckey’s Farm outside of Westfield, Indiana last week! Not too many apple picking opportunities in San Diego…

Holy crap, cortlands are friggin’ amazing. And the local Amish cheese… Wow. Oh! And Joe’s butcher shop in Carmel?! Amazing. And Fresh Markets are second only to Wegman’s, in my opinion.

Needless to say, I enjoyed grazing in the Hoosier state. :)

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Lizz B (@hereslizz) • October 7, 2009 at 10:47 am

We go in a few weeks. Our annual pilgrimage to the pumpkin patch and/or orchard. I always have to get a caramel apple. I look forward to that every year!

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Laurie • October 9, 2009 at 2:01 pm

I just went to Anderson Orchard for the very first time. I love that place! The apples were so good. I cannot go back to the grocery store and buy apples again. Nothing beats the orchard.

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Kimberly • October 13, 2009 at 10:21 am

I love apple picking. It’s been years since I’ve done it – not since I started city-living. Your story has made me want to seek out an orchard nearby… or go for a drive!

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Comments are now closed on all PastaQueen entries. The blog is an archive only so I don't have to deal with spammers. For fresh discussions please visit my new blog JenFul.

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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JenFul now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

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