Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Apple Drying

Farmer’s market season has just wrapped up (the last one for us locally is a Thanksgiving one which we went to this past Sunday) so this is the end of good apple season for us. We wanted to stretch it any way we could so we bought a couple of bags to dry.

Apple drying isn’t totally new to us; mom had some vague memory of doing it successfully a few years ago so we were trying to replicate that method. We tried several slicing methods. For all methods we started by peeling and coring the apples. Coring was a cinch thanks to my new apple corer!

I'm sure most of you have seen these but when I recently decided I wanted one would you believe how hard it was to find? I ended up getting it at a very nice and very pricey kitchen store in Brooklyn.

Back to slicing: the first way we tried was to use my mandoline which was quick but the slices were a little too thin and they tended to fall apart as they dried. The second method was by hand. This worked out much better because we could get thicker slices.

(These are the slices the mandoline produced. They're cute but too thin.)

An important step is to dunk them in lemony water before laying them out to dry so they don’t brown. I think we used ¼ cup lemon juice for every 2 or 4 cups of water, I can’t remember now. (Bad memory seems to be a running theme in this post...I think we need more carrots or whatever it is you are supposed to eat for memory. Oh the irony that I can't remember that either!)

We also tried several drying methods. We tried doing them on baking pans, with and without clean dishcloths underneath and also using a needle to string them up. Although stringing them up worked fine it was a lot of unnecessary work because doing them on trays with dishcloths worked just as fast.

Although we have a nice toasty fire going in our woodstove to keep them next to most of the time, I suppose you could also try putting the trays on top of a radiator or near one. They take a couple days to dry completely and they need to be flipped quite often.

Apparently (this is only hearsay) you don’t want to dry them too fast (for instance in a hot oven) because then the outside can seal while they are still damp inside, or so they say. Also you want to make sure they are completely dry before storing them to avoid mold.

(I tried using Zoe the cat for size comparison but clearly she was not in the mood.)

I’m sure these would be great for dry cereal, trail mix or baking but so far we have just been munching on them as a snack. I doubt ours will last very long but I think once they are dry they keep fairly indefinitely (although I’m sure they deteriorate in quality) so they would make good emergency rations or lightweight camping snacks. If only it was camping season. Sigh.

(I tried using Toaster the cat for size comparison too. If that look doesn't say "I'm not in the mood" I don't know what does.)

But Toaster redeemed himself by letting me get this shot of him sleeping near the fire:

P.S. I successfully bought nothing yesterday although this was more a result of the fact that I worked all day then a conscious effort. That still counts right?

1 comment:

  1. We love dried apples! We dry them and make jelly out of the cores and peels. Anyhow, we have had good luck with lemony water but not with fruit-fresh. They never last around our house long enough to matter though really!