Drying surplus apples

Wyggeston Pippin, Leicester apple.... croft late seedling, leicestershire...... croft cider apple from leicestershire...... croft pippin, leicestershire apple......

When apples won't keep any longer

Most apples have a well-defined period of storage. Store them longer than this and they deteriorate rapidly. Early apples are the worst offenders, and may keep for only a few days, but even apples which store for five or six months eventually reach a point when they have to be used, or given away, or thrown away.

Drying Apples

One alternative is to dry the fruit, by making apple rings. The fruit are cored, using a coring tool costing about a fiver, and peeled. They are sliced into rings about half an inch thick, and placed in a drier. The best driers I've come across are Swiss (Stockli); the machines retail for about 80 and consist of a heater in the base surmounted by a fan which blows hot air through perforated trays placed above.

Typically, apple rings take about 8 hours to dry at 60 C. Some health food shops sell them, but they're not a patch on the ones made at home. The heater is switched off just before they start to crisp.

Apple rings mask the flavour of the original apple to some extent. The best ones for drying have a strong flavour, plenty of acid. and high dry matter content. (Cider apples, on the other hand, remain inedible even if dried. The bitterness decreases but does not disappear.)

The picture below shows some 'red devil' slices which are about to be dried. Underneath are some apple rings - High Cross apples (which do not brown - the best drying apple I've found) and George's Red (pink flesh).

dried apples, High Cross apple, leicestershire apple...... dried apples, George's Red, early Essex apple, red-fleshed......

Nigel Deacon

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