Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Apple Core Vinegar

Everything must be saved, nothing wasted of all the summer's bounty.  Even the apple cores were saved for making vinegar...FARMER BOY (Laura Ingalls Wilder)
My first attempt at apple core vinegar.

The apple core recipe I used is found in the Little House Cookbook (Frontier Foods from Laura Ingalls Wilder's Classic Stories) By Barbara M. Walker as seen below.

This last Saturday my husband and our girls went apple picking on the Hood River Fruit Loop.  We went to the Draper Girls farm to pick apples, then went on to Mt. View Orchards Inc. & Fruit Stand .  We decided after the fact that we liked the Mt. View Orchards much better than the Draper Girls, but Draper Girls was a "pick your own" farm whereas Mt View Orchards is not.  Mt. View Orchards had better prices, organic produce, sampling was allowed, dogs on leashes were allowed, very helpful and friendly staff/family, plus they just had a better setup; more intuitive flow of their fruit stand/payment area, and charged by weight rather than arbitrarily eye balling the produce like they did at Draper Girls.

Draper girls did not have good parking, did not have organic produce, did not allow dogs, did not allow sampling, did not charge "U pick" produce by weight but by eyeballing it, did not have a good flow for getting your designated buckets to pick with, and paying for what you'd picked, were somewhat under staffed, were not all that friendly, lower parts of trees were over picked while top fruit were getting over ripe--but they wouldn't allow us to use a ladder due to liability--or so they said.  I had seen a sign that said something about asking for a ladder and signing a waiver, so I sent my 19 year old daughter and her 20 year old boyfriend back to get one.  But whoever they asked said "We don't allow the use of ladders anymore because too many kids get hurt on them".  Whatever.  So my younger daughter and I ended up sitting on our significant other's shoulders to be able to reach the ripe apples.  I told the kids we should sue them for giving their dad a back injury--just kidding. 

The worst part of the whole deal after picking all those apples was that while washing them, I discovered they had a very waxy, somewhat oily feel to their skins that did not come off with plain water, and I'm assuming its a pesticide they used.  I tried soaking them in vinegar and water, but the only way to get the gunk off was to actually wash each one with a dishcloth and dishwashing liquid.  I don't think we'll be visiting the Draper Girl's farm next year. 

Excalibur 9 tray dehydrator
Instead, I'll be able to go over to my older daughter's mini-orchard and pick for free, which is what I should have done to begin with, but because I was working a temp job, the particular type of apples she had were past their prime before I had the time and energy to deal with them.   

So far I've canned 21 jars of apple butter, and dehydrated about 25 servings of apple and pear chips.  This week my older daughter and I will finish up by making and canning apple pie filling.  We were going to make some apple sauce, and still may, but think I think my daughter is more excited about the apple pie filling so we'll do that first and if there are any apples left over we'll make apple sauce. 

Update:  We made 9 quarts of apple pie filling:

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