Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

As a trial run with the new tray-type dehydrator, we spotted some Sundowner Apples at Aldi, selling for a good price. No time like the present ... gotta try out the dehydrator sometime.

Read up on drying fruit - all I have ever dried were Bananas in the sun and herbs and chillies in the small round dehydrator. So to stop them turning too brown, I dipped them in an Ascorbic Acid solution - 1 Tbsp per 2 litres of water. Then slice into the same solution, drain and place on the trays.

 


We peeled and prepared 24 Apples in a couple of hours from start to turning on the dehydrator. Twenty-four Apples made 12 trays and about half of the bulk was peels and cores, all good compostable material.

 

The book said to submerge the fruit for 2 minutes in the Ascorbic Acid solution. It never worked out quite like that so some got more than others and the results vary as you can see. But it is a golden brown and quite nice to look at.

 

 

I used a slicer which was fine enough and quite quick but rough. I expected to have uniform thickness of slices but that didn’t happen as well as I had hoped. The traditional way is to remove the core and slice across but I figured that would be more difficult for us to accomplish. The slices taste the same!

 

After 5 hours the slices seemed pliable enough. The book said to ‘condition’ for a week - a week in Queensland, out on the back patio ... I don’t think so! I left them overnight with a towel over the back vents. In the morning the slices were more pliable than they should be so I dried them all again for another 2 hours. They seem crisper now.

Once the sterilised bottles were cool enough, we packed them into bottles and a ziplic bag. How we are going to restrain ourselves from scoffing the lot in the next few days, I don’t know.


The Apples are totally delicious, I doubt they’d be organic but they have great flavour, were nice and crispy and juicy. The handling let them down since there were quite a few bruises but peeling took care of that. They were peeled to remove any whatever-toxins there might be on the skins although we would prefer skin-on but reserve that for organic ones.


Next one is some Bananas - not ours yet, our plants are still babies, but some quite decent-looking ones which will be nice and speckled in the next day or two. I haven’t had dried Bananas for about 12 years so am keen to see what these bought Cavs are like dried by electricity rather than my organic Lady Fingers dried in the sun.


This machine is an Oriental knock-off of an Excalibur, bought on eBay for around $250. It has clear plastic trays, not that Teflon-type stuff. And never one to be reticent, Elaine bought us a 12-tray (“only a few dollars dearer than the 8 or 10-tray”)! This thumping great box arrived a few days ago - we were not expecting something quite so huge. It has a storage spot in the house and when in use it sits on a camping table on the back patio.

 

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Comment by Lissa on December 1, 2011 at 17:51

Awesome is definately the word! You can certainly do some volume with this little beauty. The finished apple pieces look really good.

Tell us about the machine Elaine.

Comment by Tracy Arnold on November 29, 2011 at 9:06

Wow, you can sure dehydrate a LOT in that!!  Looks awesome!

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