What exactly does that mean, you ask?
Well, After my sister's wedding, I brought a lot of apples back with me from my grandma's house.
Ok, I didn't bring all of those back... I left a few behind...
Bringing them home is great, but, well, there's a limit to how many fresh apples you can eat before they go bad. Keeping them in the fridge would give me a few months (apples are remarkably resilient), but I just don't have that kind of room in there. I have to eat a few other things, after all!
At least, that's what my husband kept trying to convince me of...
I still wasn't convinced. I could totally live off of apples.
"Is that right?" He asks. "What about your carrots, then? Or the milk you love so much that you drive out of town for?"
Ok. Point taken. I couldn't keep all those apples in the fridge. That doesn't mean that I had to make myself sick trying to finish them off in time, though.
Although, to be honest, I thought about it...
So what did I do?
(Yep. I'm doing this in rounds. There are tons of ways to use apples, after all!)
I have a dehydrator that I love to death. Meat, strawberries, blueberries, squash... all of this (and much more) has gone into it at one time or another. I don't use it often, because the racks are a total pain to clean, but when I do use it, I make it worth the effort, drying a whole bunch of yumminess at once.
Meet my dehydrator. It's not particularly fancy, and it was super cheap. You don't need anything special to dry out your fruits and vegetables. Indeed, they can even be dried in the sun. The temperature hasn't been above 47 degrees all day (It's 36 degrees, as I type this), though, and it's foggy outside, so...
My electric dehydrator is in the basement, doing its job quite nicely.
Dehydrating apples is simple. I grabbed seven apples of various sizes, and cut them into thin slices.... or pieces... I'm not exactly a pro when it comes to knives.
Like most apples, the ones from my grandmother's trees turn brown pretty quickly. Indeed, this year, the apples start turning brown from the moment that I cut them. Yikes!
It's an easy problem to solve, though.
I simply grab a large bowl, fill it half full with water, then drop some lemon juice into it. I go by my best judgement, stopping the lemon flow when I can taste an undeniably lemony freshness. Then, I just plop the apple pieces inside the water to ensure they're covered.
See? I told you they start browning from the moment I cut into them! The good news is that once they're in the water the browning process pretty much halts.
Once you cut enough apple slices to fill the water, it's time to take it all out and throw it onto the trays. Be sure that none of the apples are touching, or they'll end up stuck together. Give them plenty of room to breathe. Air needs to circulate around them, anyway, or they won't dry out.
Normally, dehydrators have ventilation holes at the top that are used to control air flow. These openings allow both heat and steam to escape. The general rule is that the more liquid there is within the produce you're dehydrating, the more you should open the holes.
I tend to open my ventilation holes to about the halfway point for apples, but then, I also soak them in lemon water, so take that into account!
All that's left is the wait.
The long wait.
Since I fill multiple trays, I have to wait for what feels like an eternity, but is actually only about 24 hours.
Food dehydration is a great option for food storage. It's easy, it provides you with healthy treats, and it gives you a nice way to avoid fermented zombie food in your fridge.
|Is that a pork chop? Wait... maybe it's an eggplant...