Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Dehydrating Apples

A friend of the family has an apple farm in the Okanagan.  We always purchase a few boxes from them, and they generously let us pick several more boxes for free.  Last fall we ended up with 12 boxes of apples.  I don't know if you can appreciate how many apples that is.  We are just now on our last box.  We've given a lot away, eaten an apple a day every day all winter long, made pies, applesauce, apple crisps, lately we've thrown out way too many bad apples (so sad), and recently I pulled out my dehydrator to see what I could do to save some of those apples.

You can, of course, make fruit leather with a dehydrator.  I didn't.  I was too lazy, which is likely why it's taken me this long to get the dehydrator out.  I could make excuses - there was lawn furniture in the way all winter long.  But really?  It just seemed such a bother.  In any case, I finally got out my handy-dandy Nesco dehydrator.

I bought it a few years back when I had big plans to dehydrate everything we were getting from the family farm (which was so much produce a lot was going bad before we could use it).  Dehydrating is a great concept.  Simply slice your fruit or vegetables into similar sizes/thicknesses.  Place in your dehydrator and let the machine slowly dry the food.  The problem is, of course, how long it takes.  You have to realize - I'm used to waiting a bit when making bread.  It's not like I don't have some patience.  But dehydrating?  Man, it takes forever.  I did have a great piece of equipment for peeling, coring, and slicing my apples (10 seconds per apple!).  Another Lee Valley item, the apple peeler (catchy name, eh?).

The nine apples that I could fit in the dehydrator were ready in a couple of minutes.  Laying the apple slices out on the six trays of the dehydrator was another few minutes.  Plugging it in.  No problem.  Then, waiting.  A whole day later (from 6 PM Saturday night to 6 PM Sunday night).  24 hours is what it took.

They look pretty, in a dehydrated kind of way.

But ... that's a lot of time listening to the hum of a dehydrator for two jars of dried apples that likely could be eaten in a single afternoon of snacking.

Would I dehydrate apples again?  Yes, but likely not a boxful since that would take a full week of running the dehydrator to get it done.  Perhaps 2-3 days tops is all I could likely stand.

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