Carrington Research Extension Center


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Drying Apples


How is your apple tree doing?  Are you getting lots of apples? This year, my favorite ‘Zestar!’ trees at the CREC orchard aren’t producing many. Plenty of ‘Hazen’ apples and trees full of ‘Honeycrisp’ are on the way if the weather holds out past this recent cold spell.  All the varieties are ripening later than normal – like last year.

nine boxes and a bucket of fresh apples
Apple harvest, September 18, 2019

How the weather affects our plants is so mysterious. ‘Zestar!’ blooms first, and has a light crop this year though it’s been a very reliable bearer in all other years. The three middle varieties, ‘Honeycrisp’, ‘Haralred’ and ‘Hazen’ are loaded, while the latest variety, ‘Sweet 16’, is almost bare. The bloom period had nice weather and we had honey bees already. But think back to last fall… 4” of rain in mid-September, 20” of snow October 10 with freezing temps followed by warming weather. Who knows how these events affected the forming buds!

Here is one of our favorite things to do with apples: dehydrate them. I’ve tried drying all our varieties and only ‘Zestar!’ has really good flavor in the end. (I think it’s the exclamation point in the name.) We snack on them all winter and use them in yogurt or oatmeal. I don’t bother dipping the slices into ascorbic acid. The difference in browning of the finished slices is hardly noticeable.

Zestar! apple rings in an electric dehydrtor'Zestar!' apple rings ready to go

Two jars of dried apple ringsAbout 8 hours later they're ready!

There are plenty of dehydrating resources from Extension programs all over the country. Here is NDSU’s: Food Preservation: Drying Fruits (FN1587, Reviewed Nov. 2017)

P.S. I dried ‘Somerset Seedless’ grapes a couple years ago. I blanched them as suggested and yes, they took about 24 hours to dry! They were tangy and tasty.

Kathy Wiederholt
Fruit Project Manager


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