Seasonally inspired things to Learn, Make and Do

Journal

Making dried apple rings with a dehydrator

apple chips in mason jar

Working from home a lot I have a bit of a snacking issue.

When work gets difficult, when a design isn't working or when I have a daunting email to write, I pace about the house and often mindlessly snack.

I decided to come up with a solution just as our apple trees produced a bumper crop.

I love fruit - it is my most usual snack food - but the speed I eat it at is the problem.

I can easily get way over my five a day by lunchtime.

So I decided to invest in a dehydrator and see whether I could transform our apple harvest into a much nicer form of dried apple rings than you can find in the shops.

apple trees Snapdragon Studio

Our apple trees are pretty feral. I planted a selection of old varieties when we moved here 15 years ago.

I carefully selected them by pollination dates and sentimentality - we have Stirling Castle, Katie, and five others I can't even remember, though their names were vitally important at the time.

We planted them in the area around where the workshop is now, staked and mulched. Within a week they had been grazed to stumps by deer who merrily munched through the deer guards on the trunks.

apple slices in colander

Then, a couple of years ago I spotted bright red and green apples in the rough ground that links the workshop to the woodland and realised that the apple trees had simply grown on, warped and twisted by the attention of deer, but that they were happily fruiting away.

Most of the apples are half way between cookers and eaters - probably originally eaters but sharper than modern eating apples tend to be. To make the apple chips I gathered smallish windfalls.

apple slices being cut

I didn't bother peeling or coring them, just sliced them 1mm thick on my mandoline cutter (I just have a very cheap plastic one - nothing fancy but incredibly useful).

I love the flowery centres that the slices have.

apple slices in honey water

Then - to stop them discolouring - I put them into a bowl of water with a tablespoon of honey in it. You can also use lemon in the water but my apples are really sour so I went with the honey. They were just in there for the time it took me to slice up all the apples.

apple slices in dehydrator

Then I layered them up in my dehydrator - arranged so that the slices don't touch at all. My dehydrator is by Andrew James and I like its big rectangular trays - it does make a noise though so I have it in the spare bedroom rather than the kitchen.

I put the dehydrator on at 70 degrees for 5 hours - As the slices are very thin they don't take a long time to dry out.

apple slices drying

Once the apple rings are crispy, take them off the racks and store in an airtight box or jar.

apple slices

I got about 40-50 apple rings per apple, so hopefully that will slow down my snacking a bit. The apple rings should store fine for a month or so - it depends on how dry they are.

If you don't have a dehydrator you can bake the slices on wire grids in as cool an oven as you can manage. If you happen to have a 4 door Aga the warming oven is ideal - otherwise just put the oven on as low a setting as possible and keep an eye on them. They are unlikely to take as long and will be more 'cooked' but will still be very tasty. Baking them in an oven is easier if you cut the slices thicker to begin with - 2mm rather than 1.

how to make apple rings

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Time.⁠⠀
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Yesterday I asked a question about luxury and the thing that came up again and again in answers was 'time'.⁠⠀
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Time to just be.  Time to do things for ourselves. Time to be creative or read. Time to focus.⁠⠀
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It made me think - that if we see time is our greatest luxury, why do we squander it so?  I know I do.  I scroll.  I dither. I catch myself almost deliberately doing nonsensical things that waste time to the point that it completely disappears.⁠⠀
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What is your idea of luxury?⁠⠀
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I stumbled across a discussion about luxury on a post the other day. It was about whether you could crave luxury in your life if you were also set in “overthrowing the capitalist systems our world is based on”.⠀
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In some ways it was hilarious, and shows what a muddle we get into, but It really made me think about what I count as luxuries in my life  They certainly aren’t what the commenters on the original post defined as luxury - the fancy sports car, the designer brand names, expensive toiletries. ⁠⠀
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Rather, my idea of luxuries are things I want in my everyday life.  Proper coffee, clean sheets for the weekend, tomatoes still warm from the sun - perhaps most importantly, the luxury of time to do nothing more than stare upwards through bright leaves . . .⁠⠀
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What about you?⁠ what are your luxuries?⠀
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Messy edges.⁠⠀
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Pretty much everything in the House Garden and Studio Meadow will stand until Spring now.⁠ I will leave it alone. ⠀
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For in my head I'm not really growing teasels, I'm growing gold finches. 
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It is the time of the year to embrace the beauty in decay.⁠⠀
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To look at the soil regenerating.⁠⠀
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The appreciate the beauty of a good compost heap -even when it is composting the cosmos that you had hoped would bloom for a couple of more weeks.
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Nettles and docks and tansy and meadowsweet. ⁠⠀
Heather and willow and onion skins.⁠⠀
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The journey through plant colours this year is coming to fruition.  Out of frame is a striped jumper on my needles.⁠⠀
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I am hoping to have enough yarn to make something for a newly arrived baby - all the energy of the Scottish hills in something to wear.
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About Snapdragon Life

At Snapdragon Life I gently guide you through bringing the changing seasons into your daily life, helping you slow down, so that you can experience increased well being, calm and creativity.

 

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