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The apple saga continues

Community cider pressing pot-luck last weekend! I wasn’t there, but furrydoc took along a box of apples from my tree and took these pictures:

First the apples were washed, either in a dilute bleach bath or a vinegar bath (for those who didn’t like the idea of bleach on their apples). Then into the grinder and the press.

The juice went into buckets. The pulp was caught in cheesecloth and taken to the host family’s animals.

The juice …

… is incredible. And I’m not just saying that because it has my very own backyard apples in it.

My apples are tart, so furrydoc found another attendee who brought super-sweet golden delicious and they mixed them. The juice is slightly more tart than I’ve ever had — which to my mind is just right. And oh heavens, the burst of pure apple flavor! It’s like no juice I’ve had before.

Furrydoc brought home about three gallons (not all from these apples, but people brought so many apples that many didn’t want to take home all the juice). I had asked only for a quart, partly because I’m not normally a fan of juice and partly because furrydoc has voracious teenage apple-devouring machines at home who need more of everything than I do. She ended up offering me a full gallon. I took two quarts. But now I’m looking at the 50 or so pounds of apples I’ve stashed in the basement and wondering whether there’s apple pressing in their future.


So far from this tree …

* Furrydoc and I have both dehydrated batches of apples

* I made Ellendra’s Fan-d@mntastic Apple Crumble (mmmmmmm)

* I made and froze apple-apricot chutney

* I canned seven pints of tomato-apple chutney (recipe courtesy of furrydoc and her husband)

* As soon as my magical Norpro Apple Mate 3 arrives from Amazon, I’ll make curried apple chutney, too. (Yes, when the zombie apocalypse arrives, I’ll be well supplied with chutney.) I borrowed that model of peeler-corer-slicer from — who else? — furrydoc and quickly discovered it’s essential equipment for processing a lot of apples.

* Today, using a bit of that fresh juice, I’m going to mix up some of Pat’s Apple Barbecue Sauce. I’ll substitute Mae Ploy Thai sweet chili sauce (known around the Desert Hermitage as “crack sauce” for its addictive properties) for the regular chili sauce and see how that goes.

There’ll be at least one more baking of that scrumptious apple crumble. Probably at Thanksgiving. And well … after that there are still three boxes of washed, wrapped, carefully stashed apples down in the basement. I’ve put this Victorio Food Strainer and Sauce Maker on my Amazon wish list & we’ll see how the winter goes.

So far, so very, very good. And there are still more apples falling from the top of the tree. All I have to do is get them before Nadja does. Unfortunately, she’s fast.

Thanks once again, guys, for all your sage advice about apples and apple trees. This is delicious fun.


  1. Johnathan
    Johnathan October 30, 2012 12:33 pm

    Ahh, so the “liquid apple” folks eventually do have their day.

    Two words: Champagne yeast πŸ™‚

  2. Pat
    Pat October 30, 2012 1:34 pm

    Gawd, I’d like one of those press/grinders!

    What’s the recipe for Mae Ploy Thai sweet chili sauce; is it commercial or homemade?

    I’d like to make the Apple Crumble, but can’t use the flour. Maybe I’ll try toasting and food-processing some oatmeal in place of the flour.

  3. Woody
    Woody October 30, 2012 1:36 pm

    Do you find that the slices produced by the peeler/slicer are thick enough for drying? Every one of those I have encountered resulted in dried slices as thin as 20# bond paper.

  4. Claire
    Claire October 30, 2012 2:09 pm

    Woody — Well, they weren’t quite that thin. πŸ™‚ Well, a few were. At first I did think the slices were going to be too thin; I’m used to more hefty commercially dried slices. But when I dried them, I was pretty happy that they weren’t thicker; they would have taken forever. I also found (as furrydoc suggested) that controlling the speed of turning also helped determine the thickness of the slices. Yeah, they were thinner than what I’m used to, but I liked ’em.

    Pat, Mae Ploy sweet chili sauce is a commercial product from Thailand; this little town is lucky to have an Asian market (it’s barely hanging on, unfortunately, as the local Laotian and Thai population has drifted away, to be replaced by Mexican immigrants). In any case, I wouldn’t recommend that substitution. I just finished making the sauce and although it tastes good, it tastes like Mae Ploy “crack sauce” with other stuff in it. In fact, chili sauce is such a big ingredient in that recipe that I’d be inclined to cut it back by about half so the other flavors could shine.

    And I think Ellendra’s apple crumble would be even better with oatmeal — processed or not. Let me know how it works. It’s a delicious recipe.

  5. Bonnie
    Bonnie October 30, 2012 2:23 pm

    I’ve got one of those apple peeler/slicers with the suction base. It holds well & doesn’t damage the table. I’ve always thought the slices were rather thick for drying. I like them a bit thinner & I leave the peels on. Also, the apples I get are all so different, it’s hard to get them on the spikes straight. Doing it by hand isn’t that bad. I listen to books on tape so I don’t get bored.

    Claire – another chutney you might want to try is on the page next to the Curried Apple Chutney in the Ball Complete Guide to Home Preserving – Apple Rhubarb Chutney. I have a lot of unsweetened rhubarb in the freezer & it worked fine. I drained it & used the juice in the chutney instead of water. It’s a lot of stirring, but worth it.

  6. Claire
    Claire October 30, 2012 2:29 pm

    Bonnie — Another chutney! Just what I need for the zombie wars. πŸ™‚ But I do love the tang of rhubarb. I don’t have the Ball book, but I do know that’s where furrydoc and her husband got one of the tomato-apple chutney recipes they adapted and I think that’s also where the curried recipe came from (dunno; only have photocopies). Might have to borrow it after their canning season is over.

    I also expected to have tons of problems with the irregular and damaged apples I was using (all the really primo apples got wrapped and stashed in the basement). But I was surprised at how well the NorPro handled them.

    Was leery of trying the suction base models; afraid they’d slip, slide, or fall over. But it would be nice to have more flexibility about where to work.

  7. jed
    jed October 30, 2012 3:17 pm

    Curried apple chutney? If I didn’t live 4 states away, I’d be right over. πŸ™‚

    And if you can’t get that Mae Ploy, I figure when all else fails, use Sriracha!

    Also, when preparing for the zombie apocalypse, take note that the Pennsylvania Liquor Commission decided to shut down all the state stores for Sandy. I know I don’t want to face the zombie hordes without a decent bottle of Scotch.

  8. Claire
    Claire October 30, 2012 4:26 pm

    jed — I don’t want to face the zombie hordes even with a good bottle of Scotch — though I suppose if all else failed I could hit them over the head with it.

    Sriracha … Hm. I’ve never had it, that I know of. But I’m pretty sure they do have it at the local Asian store, and I expect it would be better for that apple bbq sauce than the sweet chili sauce was.

    As to the curried apple chutney, if it turns out well and turns out plentiful maybe I could take bribes to smuggle it across state lines. πŸ˜‰

  9. jed
    jed October 30, 2012 6:40 pm

    I’ll be sure to have some dried apricots here at my place. πŸ™‚

    If there’s an Asian population in your area, maybe there’s a restaurant where you could give it a try before springing for a bottle? They might even have an open bottle at the store, I suppose. Some would say this is blasphemous, but realistically, I won’t say that it’s for everyone. But if you like hot food, and Asian food, it’s a pretty safe bet.

  10. David Gross
    David Gross October 31, 2012 8:21 am

    Hard cider is one of the easiest fermentables to make (see for an overview). And if you make it yourself, you skip the nickle a bottle you’d be paying the federal government as an excise tax (plus whatever your state charges).

  11. Claire
    Claire October 31, 2012 9:01 am

    Passed that link along to furrydoc, whose husband is already highly tempted to make hard cider.

  12. Ellendra
    Ellendra October 31, 2012 11:38 am

    Glad you liked the crumble πŸ™‚

    (It also works for squash, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, pears, and peaches if you ever get too many of those)

  13. Kyle MacLachlan
    Kyle MacLachlan October 31, 2012 7:48 pm

    Claire, I would not recommend washing your apples before storing them (unless they are totally mud caked or black from soot). The more you handle fruit that is to be stored, the more ever-so-minute bruises it gets and those bruises are what leads to rot later on. Same goes for wrapping them. My parents have a good sized orchard back in the old country and all we ever did was pick them one by one (usually Dad up on the ladder) and lay them carefully in wooden crates (the kind the commercial orchards use; I think they hold about a bushel). After that they went down in the cellar (cool and dark) where they held over until at least the middle of March. Towards the end they’d start to shrivel up a bit but they were still fit to eat.
    Of course, like with everything else, you ask five apple growers how to store the harvest and you’ll get six different answers.:-)
    I’ll also second David Gross above; just set a bottle of cider, loosely capped, out on your counter and within a few days you’ll have it fizzing away merrily. If you let it go too long, however, you’ll have cider vinegar (not bad in itself).

  14. Claire
    Claire October 31, 2012 8:25 pm

    “Of course, like with everything else, you ask five apple growers how to store the harvest and you’ll get six different answers.:-)”

    I had no idea apple growers had so much in common with gun owners. πŸ˜‰

    I was following instructions in an old BHM article when I cleaned and wrapped the apples. Guess all I can do now is watch and see how they hold up. The wrapping makes sense if it’s true that one apple going bad can wreck them all. But I can see what you’re saying, also.

    Learning experiences. I hate learning experiences …

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