Fresh, local apples not only make for great snacking, but they’re also easy to preserve.
Put in a few hours of work now and enjoy naturally sweet and delicious treats all winter long!
Peel and core apples, then slice into thin, even rounds. You can leave them in rings or further cut them in half.
Shake off the excess moisture and place them in single layers, on the racks of a dehydrator (or parchment-lined baking sheets, if using an oven).
Set the dehydrator to 135 Fahrenheit and dry for around 10 to 14 hours, or until the apples feel leathery and are completely dry.
If you don’t own a dehydrator, turn your oven as low as it can go, or around 150 Fahrenheit. Pop the apple-covered baking sheets in the oven and bake for 8 to 12 hours, or until the apple slices are thoroughly dried.
Let the apples cool completely before storing. We like to keep ours in tightly sealed mason jars. Store for several months at room temperature, or for longer storage, in your freezer.
Peel, core, and chop apples into small, even pieces. Place them in a large stainless steel pan, with just enough water to keep them from sticking.
We can our applesauce without added sugar, but if you’d like, you can add some to taste at this time, starting with around ¼ cup of sugar per pound of apples.
Spoon the hot applesauce into hot, prepared canning jars, leaving a ½ inch head space, then remove air bubbles by running a plastic knife or spatula down between the inside of the jar and the sauce.
Wipe the rim of the jar with a damp cloth, to make sure no residue is left that might prevent the lids from sealing correctly. Place a hot lid on the top of the jar, followed by the band, and screw just until you feel the point of resistance. Place the jar into your canner.
If using a boiling water bath, process pints and quarts for 20 minutes. If using a pressure canner, process at 5 pounds of pressure, 8 minutes for pints and 10 minutes for quarts. (See this link for information on adjusting for altitude.)
Don’t throw out your peelings and cores!
Our pastured pigs and goats love apple scraps, but you could also use them to make apple cider vinegar. Here’s a great post by The Prairie Homestead on how to do so!