The last of the Fruit Harvest (thank goodness!)

If you’ve been reading our blog you’ll know that we are self sufficient in fruit. That is unless we decide we want a banana or pineapple which struggle in the UK climate.

All of our apple trees can be found in the field where we keep our chickens so we make maximum use of the space. It also means that any windfall apples are swiftly eaten by the hens. As a result we don’t have rotting apples to rake up and compost!

We have lots of apple trees and every tree is a different variety. Some are wonderful dessert apples such as Sunset, some are great cooking apples like our Bramley (the “go-to” cooking apple) and some can make cider. Most serve more than 1 purpose.

We’ve harvested all of the apples with the exception of one variety Crispin which fruits quite late plus the fruit hang on to the tree for a while too. It also produces ENORMOUS apples which keep very well so we haven’t rushed to pick them off the trees.

At this time of year we have lots of apples being kept for eating fresh over the winter period. We need to make sure that we do something different so that these apples are not wasted.

This is where this amazing gadget comes in. It’s such a time saver.

OK, so we choose to dehydrate the apples to make best use of storage space. We’re not tying up the freezers! That means that we need to peel, core, and slice the apples before placing them on trays in our Excaliber dehydrator.

This gadget does it all.

The apples are placed on spikes so it’s held in place. As the handle is turned the centre of the apple is pushed through a blade which cuts through the core. At the same time another blades slices the apple and yet another blade on a spring removes the skin. It means we can process an apple in seconds not minutes (my peeling skills are not good!).

Once the slices are taken off the machine we do chop them into smaller pieces. That allows me to fit more on the dehydrator tray.

We do find apples can discolour slightly through the dehydration process. This can be prevented by dipping the apple slices in a weak solution of citric acid but to be honest this doesn’t concern us so we put them in as they are.

Once the apples are processed, this is what we end up with. Lots of Kilner jars full of apple slices. Clearly we’ve already been eating most of the apple pieces from this jar!!!

We eat them as dried pieces, add them to porridge, re-hydrate theem to make a puree with other fruit or on their own as an apple sauce to accompany roast pork.

The longest we have kept them for before using them is 18 months but as long as they are fully dry before storage (so they are hard and crisp), I’m sure they will last for longer.

If you’re interested in looking at this process in more detail we have a YouTube video that shows our apple corer, slicer, peeler and the dehydrator that we use. It also shows the citric acid solution if you choose to use it to prevent the apples going a little brown.

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