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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Apple chips

Risa has learned, through experience, that the storeroom is right for potatoes but not very good for apples -- they store better in lower humidity than she can provide. And while everyone likes her applesauce, the supply goes more slowly than we think -- there's lots from last year, still. She could freeze some, but the space is taken. So she'll dry all she can, though it looks like it will be a short drying season. She's gonna start right now, though the apples on the second-maturing tree (first one's apples have been eaten) are still a bit green.

She takes a bowl, puts in it a teaspoon of vitamin C, 1/4 cup of salt, 1/2 cup of sugar, a teaspoon of cinnamon, and a cup of homemade cider apple vinegar, and adds water. This is the dip-bowl, in which the chips will pick up a bit of flavor and lose some of their hurry to turn brown.

She picks a basket of apples. With her favorite kitchen knife and chopping block, she reduces a number of apples into slim chips which are thrown into the bowl right away as she throws each core in a bucket destined for the chickens. Then she spreads the chips on a screen.

The screen is carried to the potting shed, which will get close to 100(F) today -- nice and warm. The process is then repeated till three screens are full. That's about as many chips as she can deal with at one time.

As the sun doesn't reach all the chips in this setup, she's running a little fan to help with the dehydration. Next year, maybe a better system. In about four days these should be done, and ready to throw into a dry jar or bucket. And then she'll do another batch, and so on until the weather is too cold to bother. The remaining apples can go into storage if in great shape, but more likely into cider.

Each batch of apples will be sweeter (but also, perhaps wormier) than the preceding one. The chips make good snacks but can be reconstituted for use in hot cereals, with yogurt, or in pies, cakes, and breads.


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