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Ways to preserve apples

 
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I just read this article and thought I might share it here as it has a lot of ideas for preserving apples, some based on pre-canning, pre-electricity methods, and it includes variety recommendations too, which is really helpful when deciding which trees to grow for root cellar apples.

https://practicalselfreliance.com/preserving-apples/

Do you grow any apples that store for a long time without electricity?

Which varieties store best for you?

What are your favourite ways to preserve them?

I am planning to try the reinette variety here, as that one is not traditionally eaten until after midwinter, and will hopefully keep us in apples until summer, but I also have Bramley, Sturmer, and maybe some others that are supposed to store fairly well.
 
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I mostly preserve apples as juice, wine, and vinegar.
vinegar-raw.jpg
vinegar
Storing apples as vinegar
 
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I strongly feel best way to preserve apples is pressed and made into cider :). Cider is amazing and delicious plus its the first step to creating vinger for other preservation.

1 lb of sugar to each gallon of pressed cider, then ferment to dryness. This will come out to 6 - 7% abv depending on your gravity and will stay good for years if stored well.
 
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We sun-dry them.  But if the concern is PRESERVING them, drying them is no good because everyone EATS THEM as fast as I can make them.

Seriously -- my little swarm of locusts/family/children/friends will pick them right off the drying racks and eat them before I can even bring them into the house and bag them.

And the thing about dried apples is that while you might be able to eat 2 fresh apples, with dried ones you sit there and munch them down and before you know it, you've eaten the equivalent of 10 apples.  Boom -- gone.

So, if your family has more self-control than mine, here's my method:

1. Peel and slice to about 3/16ths thick.  If you've got one of those handy-dandy crank-and-peel machines, it makes life a whole lot easier.
2. Toss with a bit of fresh lime (much nicer than lemon) and a pinch of salt.  The salt helps draw out moisture and helps the apples keep longer.  Trust me.
3. Lay on stainless (or plastic) racks in a single layer.  I put them out on the brick patio by the pool where it's stupid hot.  But they need some air circulation so I put the racks up about 2 inches (on pieces of 2 x 4).
4. Keep the chickens away.  Don't let them out to free range for a day or two or you'll be sorry.
5. Turn after 1 day of hot August California sun.  They'll be pretty much dried by the second day.  
6. Put into ziplock bags.
7. Hide the bags.  If the kids ask where they are at, lie to them.
8. Lie to your wife as well (or whomever asks innocently about the whereabouts of the dried apples).  Repeat after me: "Mine!"
9. Plant more apple trees.
 
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Marco Banks wrote:We sun-dry them.  But if the concern is PRESERVING them, drying them is no good because everyone EATS THEM as fast as I can make them.

Seriously -- my little swarm of locusts/family/children/friends will pick them right off the drying racks and eat them before I can even bring them into the house and bag them.

And the thing about dried apples is that while you might be able to eat 2 fresh apples, with dried ones you sit there and munch them down and before you know it, you've eaten the equivalent of 10 apples.  Boom -- gone.

So, if your family has more self-control than mine, here's my method:

1. Peel and slice to about 3/16ths thick.  If you've got one of those handy-dandy crank-and-peel machines, it makes life a whole lot easier.
2. Toss with a bit of fresh lime (much nicer than lemon) and a pinch of salt.  The salt helps draw out moisture and helps the apples keep longer.  Trust me.
3. Lay on stainless (or plastic) racks in a single layer.  I put them out on the brick patio by the pool where it's stupid hot.  But they need some air circulation so I put the racks up about 2 inches (on pieces of 2 x 4).
4. Keep the chickens away.  Don't let them out to free range for a day or two or you'll be sorry.
5. Turn after 1 day of hot August California sun.  They'll be pretty much dried by the second day.  
6. Put into ziplock bags.
7. Hide the bags.  If the kids ask where they are at, lie to them.
8. Lie to your wife as well (or whomever asks innocently about the whereabouts of the dried apples).  Repeat after me: "Mine!"
9. Plant more apple trees.




Sounds ideal; I will PM you my address, please forward
4(four) days of hot August California sun, as I have run out several months ago and have at least two batches of apples left to process!

I suggest some strategically placed empty bags, to point at when location enquiries arise!
 
Kate Downham
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Sounds like I need to plant more apple trees!

I don't know if it's possible to have too many apples...

We don't want any California sun here... I am happy with colder weather and attempting to rig up an apple-drying rack above the woodstove.
 
Marco Banks
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Victoria -- OK Dillion, I'll trade you.  One afternoon of high tea at the Empress for 10 days of So.Cal. sunshine.  But you've got to throw in one of those artistic polar bear statues that they have all over the harbor area (or at least they had when we visited Victoria about 15 years ago).  I'll throw in a Beach Boys CD and one of those ratty fan palms that tourists seem so enamored by (if you don't keep them clean of old branches, they get rats).

In the winter, I wish I could trade you for some chill hours.  Some of my trees require 300 to 400 chill hours and there's just no way that's going to happen here.  We're lucky to get 250 in a cold year.  I planted the trees anyway.

 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Kate Downham wrote:I don't know if it's possible to have too many apples...



I live in a religious community. 40 years ago, the prophet was telling his followers that it was their religious duty to plant apple trees. So at least for my community, it seems like we have sufficient apples. I let several hundred bushels fall on the ground in my orchard this year, because of the inability of me and my community to use the huge abundance of apples.


 
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Dried Apple "Gummies":

Peel and slice apples as if dehydrating them. Make a simple syrup with equal amounts sugar and water. For extra flavor, use brown sugar instead of white, and add a bit of cinnamon. Gently simmer the apple slices in the syrup until cooked through. Cool them in the syrup overnight (you may want to move it to the fridge when the pan has cooled enough to touch).

The next day, strain the apples out, but reserve the liquid. You'll need it later.

Rinse the apples in clean water, just enough to remove excess syrup from the surface. Arrange them in your dehydrator and dry as normal. They will NOT shrink the way normal dried apples will, and they'll probably seem moist even when dry. That's ok. You may wish to add an untreated apple slice to each tray, just so you can judge "doneness" more easily.


(Note: this recipe is still in the experimental stage. If your apple slices are already the right texture, skip this next part. Some varieties need it and some don't.)

Bring the syrup back up to a simmer, and dunk the apples back in. Simmer gently for a few minutes, stirring to keep them immersed. Let cool in the syrup overnight, same as before. The next day, rinse the extra syrup off and dehydrate again.

When the apple slices have reached the right texture, and have dried as much as they can, roll them in powdered or granulated sugar and store in an airtight container.

I have no idea how long these will keep. They get eaten too fast for me to test it. This method will probably work with other fruits, but I'm still experimenting. The result should be that gummie-like texture that store-bought dried fruits often have. I find those addicting enough I'm hoping to make my own.

PS: any leftover syrup at the end will have a lot of apple flavor. You can use it to flavor drinks, or if thick enough you can use it on pancakes.

 
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