Grit Blogs > Rural Adventures

Dehydrating Wild Apples and Plums

Loretta LiefveldYesterday was another rainy day in Kamiah. I love the rain. I love watching it rain. I love doing indoor projects while it’s raining. 

I decided to dehydrate some wild apples I picked several days ago. I know, you aren’t "supposed" to dehydrate when it’s humid or raining, but I really don’t think it matters as long as you make sure the item is thoroughly dried. It just might take longer than usual. But since I normally just let my dehydrator run all night, it doesn’t make a lot of difference.

We have lots and lots of wild apple trees. Most of them have very small apples, but a few have some that are almost as large as the "small" apples sold in the stores. Most of them turn somewhat red-streaked when they are ripe, sort of like a ‘Fuji’ or ‘Gala.’  Most of them are also wormy, but I’ll just cut out the bad parts. The good parts will still be good for dried snacks and apple pies.

First, I used my electric slicer to slice them into ¼-inch slices. They are small enough that I can line up two or three at a time.  As the slices pile up, I immediately put them into a bowl of water so they don’t turn brown.

 2_20170919 Apples slices in colander

You can see that some of the slices look pretty good, but some have bruises or bad spots. On one apple slice, I noticed a worm that had been sliced in half. Yuck!  But at least it wasn’t crawling around.

I use an apple corer and a paring knife to make quick work of the bad spots. The apple corer quickly removes the core, and the paring knife cuts out other bad spots. I don’t worry about making "pretty" slices. The good slices go directly into a lemon juice/water mixture. The scraps go into a colander.

 3_20170919 3 apple slices and tools

 

4_20170919 Apple slices being cut 

You can see the proportion of good slices versus scraps in this picture. The scraps will go to my worm farm and my compost pile.

 5_20170919 Cleaned slices and scraps

Taking them out of the lemon juice mixture, I dry them in a clean towel, then arrange them on a dehydrator tray.

 6_20170919 Prepared Apple slices on tray

The apple slices didn’t use up all of the trays, so I decided to also dehydrate some of the plums I had picked.

8_20170919 plums in colander cropped 

The instructions said to blanch them for 30 seconds, which I thought was weird, but I did it. The skins all split, making it difficult to then cut them in half and remove the pit while still keeping the skin on.   

 9_20170919 plums in ice water cropped

The instructions said to put them on the tray with the skin down, so I tried to do that. In some cases, the skin had come completely off, so I put the skin on the tray, and then grabbed a skinless plum to put on top of the skin.

This morning, I took out the apples and checked the plums. The apples look great! I tried one, and they are the perfect consistency for a snack. I loaded them up into a quart jar. They barely fit.

7_20170920_Dried apple slices on tray

  

120170920Dried apple slices in jar cropped Small

The plums looked pretty weird. They stuck to the tray, and the skins that didn’t have any plums on top were crispy. I turned them over, according to the instructions, but I’m not holding out any hope. I’m sure they will taste fine, but they sure look weird.

99_20170919 Dried plums on tray before turning cropped 

Meanwhile, the store had a fantastic sale on strawberries, 4 pounds for $5! I bought 8 pounds! I'll freeze some with sugar (Rob's favorite dessert — sugared strawberries with cream). Then I'll slice some and try dehydrating those.

20170920 Strawberries 8 pounds cropped