Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Preserving Apples

Looking forward Looking Back-pt.3

apple tree dripping with fruit

Sometimes th' bounty of Autumn can make us forget th' barren-ness of Winter.
Oh, we know it, but we don't always feel it.
Never the less, it is good to put something aside, say, for that day in January when you're craving fruit leather. Not that our fruit leather lasted that long. But we gave it a shot.

fruit leather drying, crab-apple and choke cherry
We had so many apples and plums last fall we had to be creative with them. Eating fresh fruit is always first choice, but we simply couldn't even eat a dent into th' harvest. 

So Here's some pictures of what we found, as well as some ways to make 'em last. We'll start with some apples, and then move on to plums. Enjoy.

dat's one big apple

Most of last year's apples came from an old abandoned orchard. Yet more evidence that nature knows best how to raise her children. This place hasn't been taken care of in over 25 years, yet while most trees in town did OK, this old orchard produced unheard of amounts of apples and plums. This orchard also abounds in apple and plum wood, which is a favorite for cooking and smoking foods with.
Here's a shot showing th' ground literally covered in dropped apples

apples apples everywhere!
These apples was near as perfect as can be expected from th' grocery store, where they are constantly getting rid of the "lesser looking" ones.

And here's Bison eating on th' job

Bison eating an apple
This one fell off th' tree and literally impaled itself onto this sapling!

Once we got some home, we had to figure out creative ways to eat so many.

crab apples
The crab apples are really tart, and those are our favorites for eating fresh and baking with, though they seemed to be too sour for our friends. Oh well, more for us.

Here's a simple apple-bake dish, it's just chopped apples  topped with oats, a wee bit of flour, and maple syrup, then baked at 350 till it boils real good. That's Fynn's Archimedes screw next to it.

simple apple bake
Beth made a bunch of pies, and one unusual, though very tasty one was made with crab apples and ground cherries. We'll write more about them later

ground cherry-crab apple pie
Definitely a favorite way to preserve apples is to slice them real thin then smoke them over foraged apple wood. This is an addictive treat, fairly easy to make, and a great snack for road trips. 

apple wood smoked apples
Just soak your apple wood in some water for a few hours to get it good and wet, then get a good fire going, we used apple wood here too, then when you get some hot coals, top with th' wet wood. It'll smoke like crazy. Just be sure to keep your apples high enough from th' coals so they don't cook, just dry out. 

If you have a smoker, that would work even better than our ghetto-grill. This is also a good way to make some delicious crutons. Just put some of your favorite bread on there and smoke it till it dries. We like to do this for long trips, as it makes a great snack, just like the apples. Also, we use apple wood to cook nearly everything that we cook on th' grill. It adds a nice flavor to just about anything.

We also cooked some up a bit- with some plums, for about fifteen minutes, just long enough to soften th' plums, then mashed them through a fruit strainer to a nice pulp. Some of this we turned into fruit leather, like in the picture above, and some we canned into apple plum sauce. Again, th' crabs work best for this as their tartness really shines when cooked.  Here's a picture of some apple plum sauce, and some ground cherry salsa.

ground cherry salsa, and apple-plum sauce.

Went great with summer lunches.

Maybe next year we'll come up with more ideas.
Next post we'll write about th' plums. 


  1. Great blog! Found you linked on Woodsrunner's trail. I'll try to send a few of my readers your way.

    1. thanks Gorges, i love your comments by th' way, seen them on a lot of blogs, they make me laugh so much...

  2. Yes it is a great blog! This post reminds me of dating my wife. One day we purchased a rusty old wine/cider press in a yard sale. I restored it to usable condition. Then we had several dates picking apples from abandoned orchards. We have an unlimited supply of cider, and vinegar now. We gave up on hard cider. It has a nice kick, but, no flavor. I like the idea of smoking/drying apples to preserve them. I may give that a try.