The arrival of summer in the desert fills with days where the thermometer surpasses the century mark and trees are heavily laden with apples. People are often surprised to find that apple trees can be grown in our arid climate, but they do surprisingly well. I have two apple trees in my garden, which is the center of our annual apple day where we gather together to harvest, bake, and play games.

The participants range from 2-years old, all the way to 19 and are made up of my kids, niece, nephews, in-laws, and my grandson, Eric. Each year, they all come over for a day filled with summer fun.

Picking apples are first on the agenda, and the kids pick delicious apples within reach of their arm’s reach.

The younger kids are excited to spot Aesop, our desert tortoise munching on grass, and take a moment to pet him.

One of my nephews is a little nervous to pet Aesop, so he observes him from a couple of feet away.

Half a bushel of apples is more than enough for two pies, with plenty left over for the kids to munch on while we bake.

Out comes my handy apple peeler, which makes peeling and slicing apples a cinch. In addition to peeling them, it cores each and cuts them into a spiral.

(Affiliate Link) Johnny Apple Peeler by VICTORIO VKP1010, Cast Iron, Suction Base

The kids line up to take a turn turning the handle for each apple and sneak ribbons of apple peel to eat.


Homemade apple crust is the way to go and I use Paula Deen’s recipe for Perfect Pie Crust. It is a little sweet and uses a combination of vegetable shortening and butter. 

The filling consists of brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and lemon juice.

Oh, and butter…

The trickiest part is gently laying the top crust on top of the pie without it breaking.


Crimping.

At this point, the kids wanted to know how long it would take to bake.

Onto our second pie, which was a Dutch apple pie, so only one crust was needed.

My niece helped sprinkle the streusel topping. I always make extra streusel topping because I love it so much.

Pies are now in the oven, and it’s time to play our favorite board game, ‘Ticket to Ride’ and see who can complete their train routes across the U.S.

(Affiliate Link) Ticket To Ride

Finally, the timer dings and warm apple pie leaves the oven, making our mouths water with their delicious fragrance. 

Every year, I am pleasantly surprised at how much the kids in both my immediate and extended family, look forward to this day of pie baking. For a few hours, I have the privilege of interacting with them without the distractions of phones, television, and video games while teaching them how to bake as well as where fruit comes from (a tree versus the grocery store). 

I hope to continue this tradition for years to come. *Do you have any traditions that you enjoy with your family that revolves around baking?

3 replies
    • arizonaplantlady@gmail.com
      arizonaplantlady@gmail.com says:

      Hi Melissa,

      The type of apple tree you grow depends on where you live. In desert gardens, ‘Anna’ and ‘Dorsett Golden’ are the recommended types. The trees themselves aren’t known to have invasive roots, but it’s wise to keep it at least several feet away from walls, patios and buildings. Growing apples is truly rewarding!

      Reply

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