A few weeks ago we picked the last of our apples and it was clear we had a problem, the problem being that we had simply had run out of storage space. We have a dozen or so trees in a young orchard with about half of them eaters and half cookers and each year they yield more than the year before and all my attempts at slatted shelving and stacked boxes in the pantry just didn’t hack it this year.
And, although I like apples and can manage two sliced up with my muesli each morning and a couple more during the day, it became clear that I would not be able to keep ahead of the rot! Sadly, even stored carefully, one by one they shrink and wrinkle and eventually rot away.
Some friends who were visiting were astonished at my capacity to consume so many apples and suggested we bought a fruit drier to give my digestion a break. We did, it’s an Excalibur Food Dehydrator, a nine shelved unit about as big as a big microwave and so far it seems to be just what we needed all along.
Each shelf takes about six medium apples, cored and sliced and there are nine shelves, so that is about fifty apples. Once they are died they shrink down to one medium sized food bag and according to the book they should last at least a year if not two.
Coring and slicing fifty apples is a bit of a chore but not so bad once you get into the swing of things and when the drier is working it fills the house with a lovely fruity smell and I don’t feel under quite such pressure from the spirit of the orchard to eat my way through the crop before it rots, though I can foresee a time in a year or so when I will be looking at several bags of dried apples in the pantry and an orchard full of fresh ones and wondering about a plan B….. A cider press?