Saturday, October 13, 2007

Second grade apples.

Do you ever feel sorry for all those over ripen, juicy fruits laying on the ground and rotting slowly away? Those ones being stepped on by the excited bunch of people who are looking to pick the "perfect fruits" right from the trees? I do...feel sorry... since I don't like to waste.

The other day we went to the apple farm and bought 20lb of second grade apples (for only $10). It didn't matter to me that the kinds of apples were all mixed up, and that they had some imperfections and odd (just not perfectly round or oval) shapes. They were still fruits to be used and we got busy.

The plan was to make apple sauce, to bake cakes and pies, and also to use them for our first time dehydrating experiment. And eating them as well.

The baking part went very well, as we have plenty of experience in this. We have managed to bake 3 apple pies, Tata's absolutely favorite, and he was gobbling half of the pie for breakfast, and begging us to leave the other half for after dinner for him. That was no problem, as the girls took after me for love of chocolate desserts. We also baked apple muffins, and they were delicious.

A lot of cutting and peeling to make apple sauce. Here I made a small mistake by adding a bit too much water. It came out too liquorish, with a consistency something between the apple cider and very thin apple sauce. I had to come up with an idea on what to do, couldn't bear the thought of dumping the whole pot of sweet cinnamon goodness into the toilet.

And then the childhood memories hit me... We used to make fruit sheets (or fruit leathers) from the plum butter, and then I decided to give it a shot with my apple mush. I drained the excess juice, and here we got some cider to drink, and then I spread out the apple mush on the baking sheet, not thicker than a 1/4 inch. At 225F for almost two hours (ye, I know, a lot of energy used up), and then we had a final product. It came out great! It' is such a fantastic and interesting snack! You take it out from the baking sheet, and at this point it became thin and pliable, and cut the sheet with scissors into strips, and then roll them up into tubes. The fruit sheets can be stored in the refrigerator for a long time, and make great light weight snack if you go for a long hike.

As to the dehydrating experiment... I chose not to peel the apples, and decided to dry a lot of them, since I was already doing it. 10 hours of humming noise in the kitchen, and me peeking into the dehydrator to check it out. I was so impatient and curious! Later I found out you're not supposed to interrupt the drying process. Finally, they were done...

Ivana, using her 6 yo logic, had expressed her concern of the cakes and other things we were going to make from the apples to be "second grade" as well. Well, she still insisted they were...

Read more on drying food here

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