My Pristine apple tree is the first to ripen in my orchard and each day drops many apples. In Atlanta and northwest Georgia we have had record making rains, so the apples are relatively large, very juicy and, for the Pristine, relatively sweet. I do not spray so, inevitably, there are occasional visitors but these are easily removed with my pocket knife as I gorge away. Nice thing about not spraying is I don’t wash my fruit and I eat the skin.
Since there are too many apples for consumption I decided to dry and store them. We had a rigorous debate about using apples which had fallen to the ground. My view is they fell because they were ripe for eating and, provided I clear them each day, they are relatively fresh. The more informed view was that there is a risk of contamination (salmonella) which even washing and skinning does not allay and, if I was the only one eating them – fine, otherwise no ground apples. So I hand pick the apples from the tree – the trick is to test only the yellow ones (ripe Pristine apples are yellow) and if they need more than a nudge, leave them for tomorrow. I also use my arm extender shown below. (see update)
Then to the coring station – I use a handy contraption which peels, cores and slices at the same time, and very quickly too. Since the slices are thin it is easy to notice any ingredient other than apple and to exclude that segment from the lineup for the dehydrator.
I do not pre-treat the apple slices since I don’t mind some discoloration and I want to keep out all additives, even fruit juice. Then I load each of the trays which come with the dehydrator.
Finally, close up the dehydrator, set the temp initially to 155 deg for 15 mins and then back off to 135 deg and take a look see 6 hours later. When the slices are leathery dry I pack into zip lock bags and freeze. And they taste so good.
Picking, processing and dehydrating apples is now a regular first thing in the morning event. To avoid wastage and missing out on the ripest apples, I cut 2 6′-10′ sections of 6mil clear plastic sheets which I located under the apple tree. Now each morning, rather than picking from the tree I simply collect the apples which fell the previous day. Because they have not come into contact with my animal fertilizer, compost or the ground we are not concerned about contamination.