Monday, November 1, 2010

Drying Apples - Good Snacks

Hooray!!! The hoop house is still standing after three very windy days.
The squirrel bungee feeder - this should be fun
The wild arugula blooms late in these short fall days.
Hoop house spinach for spring 2011 harvest.
Some mixed greens sprouted in the hoop house.
The celeriac is still growing nicely in this protected environment.
Diakon radish and Nappa cabbage in a cold frame.
The garden put to winter rest with its drainage ditch down the center.
An experiment next to the house (Caution - windows do not work well for cold frames.)
The apple drying picture - coring the washed fruit.
I slice thick as you can see.
Into the lime or lemon water to prevent browning.
Then they get drained before going onto the trays.
Space the fruit so that its flat on the tray - try of avoid overlapping.
A dusting of cinnamon on some of the trays for an experiment.
The fruit in the foreground is dried red grapes - they are really good - nothing on them at all.

We had a barometric pressure reading last week of 28.88 - some sort of record and the winds that followed that low pressure were intense. Luckily for us the hoop house is somewhat protected by a few trees in the neighbor's yard and I think the large spruce tree helped deflect some of the wind. Anyway we still have a hoop house. I took precautions and unplugged the automatic venting system for the greenhouse so that the winds would not destroy the vent as wind has done in the past.
The spinach and other greens are sprouted in the sheltered environment of the hoop house and so with some luck we will have spinach in March or April of 2011. The celeriac plants have a mulch of straw around them as I want to see if they will keep longer and be useable later in the season as they did not grow real large. I did not plant all the space in the hoop house but left enough room for Arugula and early lettuce plantings in the spring. One needs planning for food.
The garden has been rototilled but this season I do not intend to plant a cover crop of winter wheat for several reasons - the large amount of straw that I used as mulch last season has been tilled into the soil and because of the lateness of the time I am really not sure I can even find seed. So with that in mind the garden will be open this winter. I did ditch to space because I want the rain and snow-melt to drain through and thus I have a ditch running the length of the garden. I put straw at both ends to slow the water down and stop any erosion of my soil. The only things left in the garden are the parsnips for next year, some salsify as a root crop test, the Daikon radishes in a cold frame and the Nappa cabbage in the cold frames. The Daikon radishes are real sweet for this late in the season. One other frame has spinach and lettuce inside hopefully for next spring.
With all the apples harvested I have been drying them. Dried apples are easy and a home dehydrator is the quickest way to get the job done. Ours has 6 trays that I fill and the fruit dries overnight. Our process is to clean the apples and usually not peel them as they have all been in bags for the growing season and have no pesticide residue on the skins. Plus, I can't prove it, but I feel they skins are more tender than on unbagged apples. To keep them from browning, I put the apple pieces in a water bath of lemon or lime juice - usually one lime for a couple of cups of water. The cut up fruit is dipped in the water and then put in a strainer to drain and then put on the dryer trays. This year I tried dusting a few of the trays with cinnamon - we like them. The dehydrator is set for "fruit" and if I fill the trays in the afternoon they are ready to bag up by the next morning. We had someone calculate our electricity cost for this process and it came to something like 25 cents per 6 trays of fruit. When the apple pieces have dried, I put them in baggies and store them in a cabinet over the ovens. Certain people here really love dried apples so they seldom last the whole winter. I have reconstituted them with hot water to use in cooking but mostly they get eaten as dried fruit.
As you see with the season winding down, so have the entries. I looked at the statistics for this blog and was amazed to see the distant places that have located us and the large number of hits the blog has gotten over time. I sure hope we have helped you in some ways and we do enjoy sharing our garden and techniques with everyone.
Happy Gardening


  1. Hi David...
    Got the first seed catalog for the new year today...Pinetree Garden Seeds! I think this is the earliest ever. Enjoyed all your posts this year and looking forward to the new year.
    Thanks for sharing!
    The crazy cat lady

  2. Hi There CCL,
    Yes I got seed catalogs today too, Stokes and Pinetree also. WoW this has got to be the very very earliest I have ever gotten them. Well the early bird catches the worm or the gardeners seed money in some cases. Thanks, we hope we have provided info and "pretty".
    Happy Gardening