We’re nearing the end of apple and pumpkin picking season, and we hope you’ve taken advantage of all it has to offer! There’s nothing like enjoying the rich and tangy taste of apples and cider on a fall day and choosing the perfect pumpkin. After an enthusiastic day of picking, you’re probably left with more apples and pumpkins than you know what to do with. The opportunity to gather around doesn't end with picking—there are plenty of ways to use your bounty of snacks to spend more time with friends and family. And as you know, this is what we’re all about at John Wm. Macy’s.

Plan Your Autumn Gathering

Make your fall festivities into a weekend-long event so that you have time to pick the apples and then create delicious food and drinks with them. Go out with friends or family one day to gather all your seasonal goods, then have a day of cooking and decorating the next. 

Whether you decide to pick apples, pumpkins or gourds, you'll want plenty of drinks and snacks for everyone. You might have some non-alcoholic cider on hand to get everyone in an apple mood. Don't forget water, especially if you are in a warmer climate and the day is going to be a hot one. John Wm. Macy’s Asiago & Cheddar CheeseCrisps are great snacks to bring along since you can grab a couple and continue picking.

Make sure you have plenty of baskets or bags to gather all of your apples, pumpkins and gourds. Since you can cook with both apples and pumpkins and can decorate with all three, having too many instead of not enough is never a bad thing!

The Cooking Part of the Party

Create an autumnal ambiance in your yard and home with straw bales, colorful leaves, scarecrows, pumpkins and apples. If you're cooking outside, you can use straw bales or picnic tables for seating. Be sure the fire is well contained and you have enough wood so the fire lasts long enough to do all of the cooking.

While the apples are cooking down, whether for applesauce, pie filling, cider, fried pies, apple butter or your other favorite apple treats, have tubs of water available for bobbing for apples. 

Be sure to have plenty of snacks available for your cooking venture in case your guests get hungry for something other than apples. We recommend having our Original Cheddar CheeseSticks or Asiago & Cheddar CheeseCrisps nearby for when you and your friends need a savory break.

For delicious snacks on the sweeter side, have your guests cut up their apples and then top them with caramel and toppings for a sweet fruity dessert. Toppings could include warm caramel sauce, M&Ms of various flavors, candy corn, peanuts, nuts, warm chocolate sauce, crumbled chocolate chip cookies, crumbled candy bars or anything else your heart desires.

Homemade Apple Cider Recipe

To make an easy apple cider, first cut 6 pounds of apples into wedges. Put the apples (core, seeds, skins and all) into a pot and add 1 cup water. Sprinkle 2 cups brown sugar, 1 tablespoon cinnamon, 2 teaspoons nutmeg and 2 teaspoons allspice over the apples. Cover and bring the apples to a boil on medium heat. Stir the apple mixture every 10 minutes so that the uncooked apples on the top move to the bottom of the pan.

Simmer covered on medium low heat until all of the apples are mushy. Taste the juice about halfway through cooking to adjust spices and sugar to your taste. Pour the mixture through a mesh strainer. Serve hot with a cinnamon stick garnish or let cool and refrigerate.

Save the solids to make a delicious homemade applesauce. Much like our John Wm. Macy’s snacks, homemade applesauce’s authentic ingredients and lack of preservatives make it rich and flavorful. We love a snack that is 100% real and brings friends and families together!

To make applesauce, run the solids through a food mill. If you need to adjust the seasoning for the applesauce, heat it on low heat, stirring constantly. Add more spices or sugar to taste. Applesauce is great hot or cold. Just remember to refrigerate the leftovers.

You can order all the crunchy goodness you need for your fall gathering here. Happy picking & cooking!

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