500 Year Vision

Take pleasure from walking lightly on this Earth

Nový Mlýn Dried Apples

October8

This year, we wasted not a single apple at Nový Mlýn. In terms of sustainable living, the two of us could probably live on apples alone as we have a vast number of trees here. Experiments in the past which failed included storing apples in the cellar wrapped individually in paper in 2007 (out of sight equalled out of mind, and we never got round to using them before they turned bad), cooking apple sauce for the freezer in 2008 (which is still in the freezer), cutting them up and putting them raw into vodka – which created great apple flavour vodka, but not so great vodka flavoured apples which we didn’t use. I tried adding apple to recipes such as West Country Stroganoff – however Mike wasn’t keen, and in general we don’t eat deserts – so though the Tabor Apple Bomb was nice, it wasn’t going to use up even a small percentage of apples.
The process of juicing the apples was really messy (especially before we had water here), and we need a device to crush the apples before putting them in the press. This is something we need to work on when we have a larger apple crop. We plan to make cider in the future – I do hope that the apples are of a good variety for this.
So, this year, as soon as apples started falling from the trees, I began to experiment with sun drying apples. At first I carefully cored each apple and sliced it using a kitchen mandolin from a Moseley jumble sale. It’s possible to prepare the apples really quickly – you need a very narrow sharp blade to cut out the core by cutting a circle the size of a ring around the stalk. As you slice the apple, you can pick off any bits of seed, and the fibrous flakes around the core are no problem as they are sliced so thinly.
Leaving them in the sun directly dried the very thin slices of apple out quickly, but was way too interesting for all sorts of flying insects – a layer of muslin above and below the apples solved the problem. I needed some kind of wire rack so that air could circulate underneath, and came across two wired bed bases in the attic – once we’d cleaned these up, they were perfect. We positioned them in the middle of the garden – for maximum sunlight and apples would dry out within a couple of hours on a hot day.
Once the apples were dry, I put them in large jars with a piece of fabric held in place with an elastic band as a lid. These were placed in the kitchen window so that they could continue to dry if necessary. They have been a great success. We put them out on the kitchen table as snack food in the evening, and they are quickly devoured. I’ve now labelled the jars with the month for consumption so that we can share them with visitors throughout of the year.
A note: the first apples were not so ripe and produced sour apple rings – which were good, but different from the sweet apple rings later in the season. We tried pear, however these dried rather differently – rather thin and lumpy – Rosie & Esther’s Pear Chutney was a far better use for them.

2 Comments to

“Nový Mlýn Dried Apples”

  1. On December 8th, 2009 at 12:46 pm 500 Year Vision » Blog Archive » Nový Mlýn Apples in Honey & incidental mead Says:

    […] the beginning of October it was not possible to dry apples in the sun any longer and I didn’t want to buy a small and power-hungry fruit drying machine. […]

  2. On February 13th, 2010 at 2:02 pm 500 Year Vision » Blog Archive » Nový Mlýn Menu Says:

    […] Dried apple Home made biscuits (cookies) Home made honey flap jack (granola bars?) Home made carrot cake Tábor […]

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