A very late post today – it’s been a long week filled with a bunch of work, some preserving and the busy activities that lead to the holiday season. It’s an exciting time around the house and around our kitchen as we get ready for much fun and family time ahead.
Having spent a few weeks in the UK, our monthly can jam due date is upon us. The year of preserving is nearly complete – my final jars will be sealed Thursday evening.
The secret ingredient for this month is dehydrated fruit. I suppose it’s not much of a secret since much of the world has posted their results but, true to form, we’re gonna squeek this one under the line.
Since I had the dehyrator out, I decided to dehydrate our main ingredient; in this case the target of my affection were apples. Although we’ve shared how to dehydrate apples in the past, I’ve done a few things differently than the past.
One of the main differences is that I decided to leave the peeled apples in the open air without using lemon to stop them from browing. I actually wanted them to darken a bit so they’ll stand out in our final product (details Friday morning).
Once the apples were peeled, I loosley cored them. As oposed to using a mandoline, I fired up the food processor with the slicing blade and ran small chunks of apples through the slicer. The small pieces created smaller slices than I typically dry – and were made even smaller when I fed the “chips” back through the slicer and mangled them further into small pieces. As these were further exposed to the air they continued to darken.
The small, dark clumps are pretty much the opposite of what I normally want when dehydrating. My typical product are large pale discs of apple-y goodness. Although this is ideal for consuming from the jar it’s less than ideal for preserving with – small, pale ingredients disappear in a cauldron of jam, chutney or sauce.
The moral of todays story? An “ugly” ingredient can sometimes yield a prettier end product. There is real beauty in avoiding perfection and one of the things I love about making my own preserves – and the ingredients that go inside of them.