Friday, October 24, 2008

The Fall Harvest Continues with Dried Apples

Putting up the fall harvest is not over for the Crispy Cook. Those apple trees in our "orchard" (backyard) are still half full of apples so I feel compelled to make use of it. Wasting food is a sin, right?

Dan was in charge of the dried apple project and came up with an easy way to make these delightful and healthful snacks. He prowled around our extensive cookbook collection and gleaned preserving tips from several sources for this fail-proof recipe.

Dried Apples

Pineapple juice, fresh or canned

Peel and core apples. We have one of those corer-slicer gadgets that also cuts the apple into eight chunky slices. Cut each slice in half and then toss into pineapple juice to cover. This keeps your apples from turning an unappetizing dark brown.

Drain (and make yourself a pitcher of pina coladas with that juice!) and place on trays of your food dehydrator. We find that it takes at least 24 hours for all the apple slices to become fully dried out for storage, but check them every 8 hours and restack trays to keep them cooking evenly.

If you don't own a food dehydrator, you can dry them in the oven on very low heat as well, but that does tie up one's oven for a long stretch. In a drier climate, apples slices threaded and hung to dry on a string are probably even easier, but the humidity and fly population in our autumn kitchen conjures up scary thoughts.

This is my submission for the latest round of Grow Your Own, founded and hosted this time by Andrea's Recipes. Grow Your Own highlights home grown and harvested food from around the world. While our Zone 4 home garden is at its ebb, be sure to check out what exotic homegrown fruits and vegetables will be featured from our Southern Hemisphere Grow Your Owners when Andrea does her roundup at the end of the month.


Andrea Meyers (Grow Your Own) said...

We're working on preserving our harvest, too. I like dried apples, and actually have a dehydrator that we haven't used in several years. I think I should bring it out for drying some of our herbs. Great idea to use the pineapple juice.

Maureen "Hold The Gluten" said...

I have never used a food dehydrator but this sounds interesting! I'm thinking it would be perfect for our tomato abundance each season. What kind of dehydrator do you use?

Rachel said...

Andrea: Herbs do well in the dehydrator too, as long as they are are dried after washing before you pop them in. I spin them in my salad spinner and then blot with towels.

Maureen: I use a Mr. Coffee brand dehydrator (Model FD5) that has a bodacious amount of trays (seven!) so you can really go nuts during harvest season. We got it a couple years ago for cheap at a thrift shop so I didn't research brands and models, but I'm sure you could check out the excellence of dehydrators at Consumers Reports or the Mother Earth News websites if you are shopping around.

Gluten free Kay said...

I've got a TON of applesauce in the freezer already, and four big bags of apples (my generous neighbor's!) left. Dried apples look like a good idea to me. I bet they'd be good in morning oatmeal, or in place of raisins in granola or cookies. Thanks for another great seasonal idea!

Alicia Foodycat said...

"Dry climate" is not something I am familiar with! Those look great. Dried apples are one of my favourite snacks when I am trying not to spoil my supper.

NKP said...

I have a dehydrator but have not used it for apples yet - I definitely have to give this a try. The pineapple juice is a great idea - not so tart as lemon.
Where do you store the baggie of dried apples when you are done?

Anonymous said...

I didn't even know dehydrators existed! Dried apples are great for decoration, but also as a healthy snack. Gret one Rachel.

Maria Verivaki said...

i love it when people 'recycle' good quality fruit and vegetables instead of letting them rot, throwing them away, or not giving them away. it's a great thing to know people care about the food they grow past what they can eat at one particular moment.

as you might have guessed when you visited my blog, i love to write food stories myself, so i am quite intrigued by the 'cook the books' idea. we do have a couple of second hand book stores (run by english ladies)in my town, but admittedly, they are not exactly fully stocked. novels there go for about 3-6 euro each.

i have already checked out the amazon site where i was able to search inside 'la cucina' and already found something in those first few pages that whetted my apetite and gave me an idea to cook something. it just so happens that we have a sicilian neighbour (would you believe it, on a greek island!), and she can easily give me ideas about what to cook (she already offered us a delicious pasta dish which i've blogged about under the post 'other people's food'), but what i can't take part in is the book club discussion if i dont actually read the book (and i am a great reader (especially since i want to believe that i may make a great writer one day!)

i would love your copy of 'la cucina'; here is my address:
5 Ag. Georgiou Str.
Kalithea Vamvakopoulo
Hania Crete
GREECE 73100

I'll try to think up of some titles that might be interesting additions to your reading lists

thanks for the offer and the welcome to your club!