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Freeze Dried Apples Have A Lot Of Purposes
At 14 years old, the first pie I ever made was an apple pie. My mother taught me the same way her mother taught her.
You make your crust and place the bottom crust in the pie pan. Peel and chop up enough apples in 1″ chunks to fill your crust as full as you want.
Cooking From The Heart
No measurements: Sprinkle it with enough sugar to sweeten the type of apples you use, sprinkle with a little palmful of flour and give it all a good sprinkling of cinnamon. Put dollops of butter all around it and cover with your top crust. Make a pretty edge all around and poke a large “A” with a fork for an air vent. Bake at 350˚ for about 40-45 min or until golden brown and bubbling out the vent.
As I think back on that, I know exactly how much of everything to use when I’m looking at it.
I Dare You
But to tell someone the amounts –I don’t know. Those pies usually turned out better than ones that I have used an exact recipe for! Try it some time, if you dare.
Make one without measuring–just add love and maybe a scoop of ice cream while it’s still warm!
Check Out The Vault
Apples have always been a favorite. As I got older we were given an old family recipe that everyone loved. It was a Fresh Apple Cake. You just can’t beat some of these old recipes! The only problem is, I feel that they used way too much sugar so I always adjust that and even add a little Splenda with the sugar to reduce it even more. I’ll share it with you in the vault–I think you’ll enjoy it! Those were my two most favorite things to do with apples (besides eating them just as they are)!
Why Would You Freeze Dry Apples?
One of the first things I freeze dried were apples that I had peeled, cored and sliced in my Kitchen Aid Spiralizer. They were in little “slinky” type connections so I spread them out on the trays best I could. They were very juicy, moist and stuck together (and I probably tried to do too many at once as well).
If you’re unsure on apples or applesauce, check out this apple oatmeal cookies recipe that I use for freeze drying.
I didn’t realize that my HarvestRight freeze dryer had a leak and wasn’t working right. I also didn’t realize that although the apples were thinly sliced, they were still very thick because they all would stick together. They took forever in the freeze dryer and didn’t turn out right. I was discouraged and thought it just wouldn’t work, so I somewhat rehydrated and made them all into applesauce.
I froze the applesauce in silicone molds and placed quite a bunch of them in zip lock bags in the freezer. They stayed in my freezer until my machine was fixed. After that, they freeze dried wonderfully (30 hours) and were soooo good! I didn’t add any sugar and they made GREAT snacks. I was so glad that I didn’t give up on the applesauce!
I’m not sure if I would spiralize them again for freeze drying. If I did, it would have to be single rings of them perhaps overlapping a little so there was never more than a double layer (my 4 – 6 layers just didn’t cut it, but again, my machine wasn’t working right, so maybe I should try them again)! I think they would make great snacks like that, but I have so much in my freezers that I want to clean out, that I don’t want to spend the time placing only small amounts of food on my trays right now—maybe down the road.
With apples, I didn’t research first or see what others were doing. I knew that Bonnie had success using the little manual apple corer/slicer, but thought I’d try this other way first.
Lesson learned: listen to others who have already done it!
Live And Learn and Try Again
So, this fall I got several varieties of apples from my friend, Laura at White Gables Orchard: Golden Delicious (my husband’s favorite), Red Delicious, Jonagold and Braeburn. If you live in the Northwest, stop in and get some of their beautiful apples and produce when you visit Green Bluff!
Apples are usually plentiful in the fall and very easy to freeze dry. Just wash, use the manual corer/slicer (you don’t even need to peel them–lots of nutrition is in the peel). Sprinkle them with Fruit Fresh, place them on your silicone mats on your trays.
I pretty much freeze everything in my freezer first because my HarvestRight is going 24/7. So, I’m always prepping ahead. Often, I need to turn to cookie sheets and zip lock bags because I run out of trays. I have found that placing them on the peel side helps in pulling the frozen apples off the parchment easier. I think they may freeze dry better that way too.
All of the varieties we did are amazing freeze dried. But of course, because my husband always likes the Golden Delicious, he also prefers those freeze dried!
Tips For Prepping
The corer/slicer I have is very old and actually quite dull at this point. The outside width of each slice is 1 1/4″ because it does 8 slices at a time. I’ve found that when the slices are an inch or more wide, it takes a lot more time for them to freeze dry. Most slices are done when the machine says the processing is complete, but inevitably I will break one of the larger pieces in half and usually need to run it another 3 hours to make sure those larger ones are completely dry inside. So, it takes about 29 hours and I measured 11 cups of water from 4 trays!
I felt that instead of a slicer like mine that does 8 slices, one that would do 10 slices would be perfect for freeze drying. (They have some that will do 12 slices and can handle a larger apple, but I felt that was a little too small). We only had 2 apples that were too large for our slicer.
Sooo, I just ordered a stainless steel apple corer/slicer that is much stronger, sharper and makes 10 slices at a time. I think this will keep me from having to add more dry time to each batch, possibly completing a batch in 26-27 hrs.
We also used our apple corer/slicer for the Anjou pears we did and it worked great for them because they are so much more firm than Bartlett pears–more like an apple.
Enjoy apple season, get the tools you need to make it easier, faster and yummier!
HOW DO I FREEZE DRY PEARS?
Many people think it’s next to impossible to do the freeze drying for themselves. This is far from factual. Freeze drying at home is made easy by Harvest Right. They sell three different sizes of freeze-drying machines that do everything in the machine – except prep and package.
That’s up to you.
For all intents and purposes, here at Freeze Drying Mama we use the medium sized freeze dryer. You can check out the sizes offered at Harvest Right here.
What this machine does is first freeze the items on stainless steel trays to -41 degrees or lower. This takes about 10 hours or so.
Then a vacuum pump turns on and creates a vacuum inside the drum. This is the drying stage and will vacillate the heat of the tray up and down to a pretty warm temperature. This makes the frozen items release any water in them in vapor form. The vacuum sucks the moisture to the drum. This collects in ice form on the inner circle of the drum.
Then there’s the final dry which is essentially the same thing, but with a time associated with it and an end in sight!
WHAT SETTINGS DO I USE TO FREEZE DRY APPLES?
On the Harvest Right freeze drier – this works on all sizes – after putting the trays inside the drum on the shelves, I put in the drum cover and then tighten the handle as I lock it shut. On the computer touch screen, I selected START > NON-LIQUID > NOT FROZEN (unless of course, they’re frozen) > CONTINUE. After inputting the settings and making sure my drain tube was closed, I walked away.