From Orchard to Table, Via Canning, Drying and Freezimg
Many apple varieties grown in Wisconsin ripen in early to mid-October, so orchards around the state are burst with fruit. There are a number of options for individuals looking to preserve apples to enjoy during the winter months.
Apples lend themselves very well to canning, drying and freezing. It is important to take special care in choosing late season produce. Fruits that become overripe and soft should not be used for canning, freezing or drying. Apples allowed to ripen on the tree will be the sweetest. Using damaged fruit that have fallen on the ground is not recommended.
Many light-colored fruits like apples also darken very quickly when peeled, antioxidant treatments like ascorbic acid, vitamin C, can help prevent a color change, no matter how the apples are preserved. Ascorbic acid can be sprinkled on the fruit, mixed with water to create a dip, or added to the fruit juice or syrup that frozen or canned apples can be packed in.
Home-drying apples can be done in a dehydrator or the oven. It is important that dried fruits be cut into even pieces. Apples can be cut into rings, wedges or chips, with the core removed, and when placed on trays to dry, they should be evenly spaced with no pieces touching. Drying apples in the oven can take 12 to 14 hours. Because of the lengthy drying time in the oven, a commercial dehydrator is often an excellent choice.