What says fall more than a fresh crisp apple?
Whenever I think of picking apples, a scene from Anne of Avonlea (the movie) pops into my head. Anne and Katherine are climbing ladders to fill baskets of apples. Then the scene changes to Anne and Gilbert strolling down the lane with said basket of apples (I never quite understood what possessed her to lug that thing) pausing for the long awaited moment when he finally asks for her hand in marriage again. Sigh…
I don't have apples trees in abundance, but I am blessed to live 2 hours from a delightful place called “Apple Hill”. It's a collection of farms and stands that sell apples (big surprise), treats, and other delights.
I grew up going every year but the business of life and moving kept me from visiting for about 15 years. I went again a few weeks ago.
Oh my! I had forgotten how delicious a freshly harvested apple could taste! I must have tried at least 8 varieties! Not quite as romantic as picking your own, but definitely second best.
As much as I love crisp apples in the fall, I can't eat them all before they go bad. That's why I enjoy making pies, apple sauce and muffins. Or, I preserve them through dehydrating — which is easy and requires very little storage space.
How to Dehydrate Apples
1. Wash apples.
2. Slice to desired thickness; 1/4″ to 1/3″ thick works well. Remove any brown or bruised spots. You can save your peels and cores to make apple cider vinegar, or compost them. (To slice in round, even slices, you can use a mandolin.)
3. Place the apple slices in a glass bowl. Cover with water. To help prevent browning, add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to every quart of water.
4. Place slices on dehydrator tray, being sure not to overlap the apples.
5. Place in a dehydrator at 140 degrees Fahrenheit for 12 to 14 hours (or around 115 degrees Fahrenheit for 18 to 24 hours, if you want them raw). If you don't have a dehydrator, you can place the apples on a cookie sheet and bake them at 150 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 to 20 hours. Be sure to check every couple of hours after the first 10 hours. Flip once to evenly dry the apples (whether they're in the dehydrator or oven).
6. Once dry store the apples in glass mason jars or plastic zipper bags. They will last for about 12 months. Or, vacuum seal for longer keeping.
What's your favorite way to preserve or enjoy apples?
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