It’s apple season, which means we have a bucket full of apples that we picked from a farm last week and we still haven’t done anything with them.
Early this week I made my son a quick oatmeal breakfast with apples and he gobbled it all up. I’ve been making it nearly every day since. I eyeballed all the ingredients, but here’s my closest approximation.
Easy Apple Cinnamon Raisin Maple Oatmeal
- 1 small apple, cubed
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/3 cup quick oats
- 2/3 cup water
- pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons raisins
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
Place apples, butter, brown sugar and cinnamon in a pan over medium high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until apples are soft – about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the oatmeal, water, salt and raisins in a bowl. Place on a plate (in case of spill over) and microwave for 2 minutes and 20 seconds.
When oatmeal is done, add the apple mixture, maple syrup and top with cream.
This summer my goal is to gather or harvest at least one plant a month. Usually I gather fiddlehead ferns and fireweed shoots in May, pick wild strawberries in June (I can’t disclose my secret spot!), hunt for boletes in the mid/late summer and harvest berries in the fall.
When UAF Cooperative Extension Service tweeted about birch tree tapping in mid-April, I knew I had to start my harvesting season early. I texted my good friend Ivan, knower of all things apian, and he told me I could find spiles, or birch tree taps, at Alaska Mill & Feed. I have several big birches in my yard, so it was worth a try!
With just a little hardware and a whole lot of stove time, you can have your own homemade birch syrup (I still haven’t reached syrup state, but you’ll see what I came up with in the meantime if you read below). I didn’t take step-by-step photos only because they would be pretty boring. It’s a lot of boiling. Follow this handy guide for a complete explanation.
Please keep in mind that I’ve never done this before, so I have no idea whether I’m doing it incorrectly. The instructions below is what worked for us. Let me know if you use a different/better technique!
Birch Tree Tapping in Anchorage
- 2 or more 7/16″ birch tree spiles ($5.99 each at Alaska Mill & Feed)
- 7/16″ drill bit
- Power drill
- Rubber mallet
- 2 or more 2-gallon buckets
- 3 or more 5-gallon buckets
- Tall kitchen bags
- Wire sieve
- Two large soup pots
- Small saucepan
- Lots of freezer space
- Candy thermometer
Continue reading Harvesting Anchorage: Birch Tree Tapping