Around this time last year we were hard at work picking and pressing apples to make apple cider. With the recent passing of my Hubby’s grandmother our apple picking plans got changed. We did gather several large buckets of apples from our own apple tress, but it wasn’t enough to justify renting an apple crusher and press. So, for this year I’m preserving apples in other ways.
Apple Juice: You want to start with apples of course, but the paths you can take to turn your apples to apple juice are many. You can cook the apples, then strain them (instructions here), use an electric juicer, an apple press or steam juicer. This year I’m using a steam juicer. It’s great tool for smaller batches of fruit but a little slow for juicing buckets of apples. I wish I had my own apple press. Once your apples are juiced you can freeze the juice or can it. My freezers are full and I dislike thawing bags of frozen juice so I opted for canning this year.
Apple Jelly: The great thing about apple jelly is you don’t need to use pectin to make it. Apples are already quite high in pectin. Simply add sugar, boil away until you get to the gel point and you’ve made jelly. Granted it takes a little time and patience but it’s worth it. I use an apple jelly recipe from The Joy of Jams, Jellies and Sweet Preserves.
Apple Sauce: Start by cooking your apples with a little water to prevent scorching. Once cooked pass the apples through a food mill or a China Cap. You can keep apple sauce in the fridge, freeze it or can it.
Dried apples: When I get tired of juicing, saucing and canning I turn to the dehydrator or oven. Drying apples doesn’t take much prep, which is nice, but it does take a while before they are ready. Once the apples dried they disappear fast, so be warned!
Any apple preserving ideas you’d like to share?
Apple butter is one of my favorites too.
I inherited three apple and a pear tree when we bought the house. We pruned heavily this year, and got a better harvest than we have before but there is a lot of spots and bug damage what should I be doing to fix that. Yours are so pretty.
We have bags and bags of apples to use, and I would love to make some dried apple rings, but I don't have a dehydrator. I have heard you can make them using the oven. Have you ever tried this?
Julia – Unfortunately, I don't know much about fruit trees. Let say we've been lucky so far to not have too many problems with bugs. I'm sure there is plenty of info on the web on natural ways of bug control etc. But, some bug damage is going to happen if you choose to not use pesticides.
Mrs. T – I haven't used the oven to dry before but I know quite a few people that do it regularly. Check online for more info, but as far as I know you put you oven on the lower temp it can go and pop in your fruit on trays. Apples should be cored and sliced thinly and then place on a sheet without any overlap. Hope that helps!