Turning Into Pumpkins At Enchanted Acres & Katy’s Homemade Applesauce Recipe

The North Iowa bloggers embarked on their first fall adventure where some of us turned into pumpkins.

Jeni pumpkin

This weekend, Shannon Latham invited us to spend the morning at Enchanted Acres in Sheffield, Iowa about thirty-minutes south of my home in Mason City. The acres feature a patch of at least 30 varieties of pumpkins of which Shannon and her family planted by hand. Throughout the fall, visitors can pick their own pumpkins for decorating and eating, attend a pumpkin craft workshop, meet farm animals, and play on the big tractor tire playground. You can find a schedule of events on their Facebook page.

We tried our hand at decorating pumpkins. Amy created the glitter pumpkin while I attempted duct-tape polka dots.

Pumpkin Shannon Collage

Shannon Latham shows-off Enchanted Acres’ new signage which explains each pumpkin variety.

Enchanted Acres features many activities for kids. Of course we all had to try them all out.

As a {former} city girl, I became most excited about meeting the farm animals. Growing-up, we occasionally saw farm animals at the Minnesota Zoo and State Fair, but have never gotten too close. I tried posing with Nibbles, Sharon’s pygmy goat.

Nibbles Collage

He’s very friendly, but had other plans. He grabbed a mouthful of corn husks and ran away. I also got to hold my first chick and my first bunny.

Chicks Collage

Enchanted Acres just got chicks from Hoover’s Hatchery located nearby in Rudd, IA.

It was pretty much the best thing ever and definitely a personal bucketlist moment. Possibly not as giddiness-inducing for the bloggers who grew up on farms.

Blog Collage Collage

Showing-off our crafty pumpkin handiwork, making pumpkin pie in a bag and meeting the animals.

Shannon also sent us home with goodie bags filled with treats guests can purchase at Enchanted Acres such as homemade strawberry jam, beer bread mix and salsa dip seasoning. Jake and I hit the chunky strawberry jam immediately.

Jam

In the spirit of the changing seasons and blogging collaboration, I invited Katy to share one of her favorite fall recipes. She blogs at Learning As I Go: Learning About Life Being A Wife, Step-Mom & An Adult and offered to share her recipe for homemade applesauce:

Katy and Jeni

Katy’s Homemade Applesauce
It’s Iowa, and, although summer hasn’t officially ended according to the calendar, it’s fall in my home. School has started, the first football games of the year for my step-sons are next week. . . it’s fall!! When I think of fall, I can’t help think of pumpkins, apples, goodies baking in the oven, cinnamon, and crisp smells. This past weekend, I was given a large bag of fresh home-grown apples. While I knew that I wanted to freeze some for apple baked goods (pies, crisps, etc) this winter, I also knew I wanted applesauce.

I’m actually snacking on it while I type this post and it’s delicious. It tastes like the best homemade apple pie filling. I hope you get a chance to enjoy some fall food and baked goods this year!

Katy's Applesauce watermarked

Ingredients:
5-7 apples
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

Instructions:

  1. Peel, core, and slice apples, cutting out any bad spots. I like to leave a little skin at the tops and bottoms for texture and flavor.
  2. Place the apples in my two qt sauce pan (I didn’t have the need to chop them and you’ll see why later).
  3. In the pan, add butter (yes, butter, no margarine!) and about ¼ cup granulated sugar and two tablespoons of cinnamon. The amount of cinnamon that you use is obviously up to your liking.
  4. Turn burner to medium heat, cover the pan with a lid, and let everything start getting happy.
  5. Simmer until the apples become soft then break them up. I like my applesauce chunkier, so cooking them whole was perfect and it saved me a lot of time not having to chop them.
  6. Simmer about two minutes longer. If you like smoother apple sauce, just continue to cook and mash as they cook.
  7. Remove applesauce from the burner and package it in Tupperware containers. Freeze for later or refrigerate. I enjoyed a small bowl right away.

Katy’s Apple Freezing Method:
Chopped any peeled and cored apples you want to freeze into a sink full of water. Add about one tablespoon of salt and a good splash of cider vinegar. Let them have a nice bath in that mixture (this was my Grandma’s secret to freezing apples so they don’t get brown). After they soak for about five minutes, place them in a strainer and rinse with plain water. Bag them up and put them in the freezer.

*Special thank you’s to Shannon for graciously hosting us at the farm and to Donna Hup for helping me take photos. If you see me in a photo, Donna took it:) 

My Fellow North Iowa Pumpkins:
Amy, Modern Rural Living
Beth (in absentia), It’s Just Life: Finding The Extraordinary In The Ordinary
Donna, Donnahup.com
Katy, Learning As I Go: Learning About Being A Wife, Step-mom & An Adult
Sara, All In An Iowan Mom’s Day & Travel With Sara
Val, Corn, Beans, Pigs & Kids

8 Comments

  1. Beth Ann Chiles

    What a fun post!!! I felt like I wAs there!!! I think it would have been a more excellent way to spend Friday than my way!!!!

    • Jeni Flaa

      I wonder if we need to make a “flat” version of all of us to take if we can’t make an event!

      • Donna Hup

        I think that’s an excellent idea!

        • Jeni Flaa

          WE’ll have to find a time to take everyone’s “flat” photos:)

  2. Donna Hup

    It was so much fun! Thank you for taking my pics too 🙂
    Katy, I love the recipe!! Applesauce is one of my faves.

  3. Mary Hopper

    I just logged on to my computer looking for a recipe for applesauce, as I’ve got an overabundance of apples…crazy to run into your post. Looks like you guys had a great day at Enchanted Acres! Would love to have fall activities like those at Natural Plus Nursery!

    • Jeni Flaa

      Perfect timing! We have to get our hands on apples so we can make Katy’s recipe too. We’d love to visit your nursery too!

  4. Feisty Eats

    Nibbles is too cute. Looks like a fun fall event! What a great group.

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