This past week when visiting friends, we were offered some of the grapes that were growing as a carport. What a beautiful gift to be given! I took a bag full. They also offered us some apples from a tree that had split and fallen down. I’m amidst so much processing of food at the moment that I didn’t take too much of either offering. What I did take however, I turned into something wonderful!
I juiced the grapes and then poured the remaining mash through a strainer, mashing it with a spoon to extract as much juice and fine pulp as I could. I ended up with 24oz. The remaining pulp was enjoyed by my chickens!
Then I took 24 apples, cored them and put them through the food processor, mixing them with the grape juice to help the processor blend the fruit better. I blend the fruit until it is very smooth, like a store bought applesauce texture.
This makes for a thinner and more flexible end product. I poured the mixture (done in two batches) out on Excalibur teflex sheets to dehydrate at 145˚ for 45 minutes to warm it up, then at 115˚ overnight. This technique drastically reduces drying time, but doesn’t heat the food enough in the initial 45 minutes to ‘cook’ it, so it remains a raw food. The result was great. If I were to make it again though, I would use less apples for the amount of grape juice I had, just to make it taste more like grapes. If I didn’t have too much to do already, I’d be out there foraging for more grapes and apples!
Summer has arrived, and so has an abundance of fruit! I am so excited to be preserving fruit from our land for the coming winter months. We have collected rhubarb and strawberries and wanted to preserve what we’re unable to eat fresh. I have been freezing berries whole and unwashed, so they don’t stick together. I tried my hand at slicing the berries and drying them. This was good, but I like making fruit leathers with apple added in to ‘stretch’ the berries further. Although apples are out of season currently where we live, I went to a local orchard who was clearing out their crop from last year that have been stored all winter – apples perfect for drying. I was able to get two bushels of Ida Red apples for $15 CAD!
Here is what I did for our Strawberry Rhubarb Apple Fruit Leather:
4 cups coarsely chopped rhubarb
8 cups strawberries, hulls removed
12 cups apples (I used 15, cores removed but left the skin on)
In batches, blend all the ingredients in a food processor. Combine in a large bowl. Spoon onto teflon sheets, being sure to make the outer edges slightly thicker to help with consistent drying. Turn dehydrator on to 145˚ for approximately 45 minutes. Reduce temperature to 115˚ and leave running over night. The taste is delicious with no need for added sweeteners!
(In case you’re wondering, we use the Excalibur 9 tray dehydrator and the Paraflexx Sheets)
I have just made a most delicious fruit leather! Our children love to eat fruit leathers and this one is particularly good, so it’s nearly half gone already! I love using raw food ingredients to get the most nutritional benefit.
Here’s how I made it…
Combine the following in a food processor or blender:
6 cups fresh pumpkin
4 cups applesauce, or peeled and cored apples
2 tbsp. honey (or to taste if you like it sweeter!)
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Dehydrate on teflon sheets. Try to spread the mixture a bit thicker around the edges to ensure even drying. I started the dehydrator at 145 degrees for about one hour to heat the machine up, then I reduced the temperature to 115 degrees to maintain the nutrient density as a living food. I left it in the machine over night, turning the trays just before bed (the side nearest the fan seems to dry much quicker, so turning the trays helps it to dry evenly and be done by morning).