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Apples, Apples, Drowning in Wasted Apples

 
gardener
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mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

apple butter on buckwheat pancakes

http://www.skinnytaste.com/2010/11/slow-cooked-apple-butter.html
 
pollinator
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Likewise! Thanks for the photos.
 
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Can pigs eat apples without any issues, meaning, can you continue feeding them long term on them without major known health problems? One way I think you could preserve a glut of apples would be to lacto ferment them. Think a 55 gallon batch of chutney. Never done a large scale batch of apples but have done chutney and it keeps for a good long time, also might improve the nutritional value for the pigs?
 
pollinator
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For storing eating apples through the winter, I knew someone who swore by wrapping them individually in newspaper coupled with liberally salting them, then storing in a cool location. I ate edible if somewhat soft apples that had been stored like this from ~october until march. Unfortunately I have no idea what varieties they were, or how well the same apples would store by other methods...

This method did not seem to work well in our shed, however. I plan to revisit it once I have a better cool storage location.

Has anyone tried this method including the salt? Results?
 
pollinator
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John Master wrote:Can pigs eat apples without any issues, meaning, can you continue feeding them long term on them without major known health problems?



Pretty sure you can feed pigs apples without any trouble
 
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John Master wrote:Can pigs eat apples without any issues, meaning, can you continue feeding them long term on them without major known health problems? One way I think you could preserve a glut of apples would be to lacto ferment them. Think a 55 gallon batch of chutney. Never done a large scale batch of apples but have done chutney and it keeps for a good long time, also might improve the nutritional value for the pigs?



We feed tons of apples freely to pigs. They stop eating them and go back to pasture forages at their own preference. Never seen a problem. In our case these are drops from our orchards, wild trees in the fields and pomace from making cider. Sometimes we'll dump as much as 40 tons in a pile out in the pasture where the pigs have access. Apples are excellent food for pigs. I plan to plant thousands more trees just for feeding the pigs. The trees shed apples from about June through November. This year was a high harvest year.
 
Cj Sloane
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Walter do you have any Persimmons? I was thinking Mulberry, early - mid - late Apples, and Persimmons would give the pigs a really long harvest season maybe June-November or later.
 
Walter Jeffries
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Cj Sloane wrote:Walter do you have any Persimmons? I was thinking Mulberry, early - mid - late Apples, and Persimmons would give the pigs a really long harvest season maybe June-November or later.



We don't have Persimmons. We are in USDA Zone 3 and my understanding is that Persimmons need USDA Zones 5 to 11 with a preference on the warmer side of that.

 
Cj Sloane
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The American ones are zone 4 and I guess I'm enough south of you to be 4/5. Thanks.
 
Walter Jeffries
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Cj Sloane wrote:The American ones are zone 4 and I guess I'm enough south of you to be 4/5. Thanks.



Part of our climate zone is our latitude - so you being south may help you.

Part of our climate zone is our altitude - we're high up on the mountain so we're a zone colder than down in town. In the fall we get snow much earlier and then in the spring we keep it much later, by about a month each side of winter, than people down in the valley. They are within a mile or two of us but the altitude makes a huge difference. I spread wood ash over our snow to change our albedo and enhance the melting of the snow in the spring on select areas of our farm. I don't have enough wood ash to do it all since our tiny cottage is so efficient and that unfortunately doesn't cure the min-winter low temperatures.

If you plant persimmons I will be curious to know how they do and how the pigs and chickens like them.

-Walter
 
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How about selling them to a local grocer? Or if you still have fruit stands open in your area, selling or putting them on consignment there?
 
Walter Jeffries
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One word: FSMA
 
pollinator
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I disagree there are lots of words for FSMA but I am not going to use them as children may be reading this
 
Cj Sloane
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I realize this is homestead scale, or less, but I'm drying some as an experiment. Supposedly dried apples will last 25 years so it gets high marks in that respect. Using my admittedly large oven, I can dry about 10lbs a day. Using one of those apple corer/divider it goes quite quickly.

I'm building a solar dryer now which should get me up to 25 lbs/day for next year. Over a 90 day harvest season, that'd be 2,250 lbs of apples. I'd have to purchase some kind of feed with high protein but this could be a 50% cut in the feed bill.
 
Cj Sloane
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I forgot to say in the above post that it's not really costing me anything to dry those apples. I turn it on the lowest setting, 150° for about 10 minutes. The rest of the time it's just running off the pilot light which is always on.
 
steward
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The washing machine converted into apple "press" was so awesome I just had to post it inside the thread.

They made some changes to a washing machine and now they just feed in whole apples and the the apple cider comes out the machine's drain tube into a bucket. There's a bit of waste in that the last half of apples doesn't get chopped up as finely as the first half, and at the end there were some whole apples in there with the various sized chunks, but if you have an abundance of apples, this looks terrific.

You need a washing machine which can spin AND the water pump still works. (As opposed to the washing machine as salad spinner, where you only need the spin part to work.)
 
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we were feeding a 5 gallon bucket of drops to our 5 pigs once or twice a day, I tried to bring a bucket to them every time I went down. they became picky pigs pretty quickly, they only wanted the nice red apples not the green crap apples. They also had free choice grain, the pasture and the household scrapes so they ate what they wanted. I was also bringing the deer a bunch as well and of course they were coming up and eating the drops. We had a bumper crop of apples this year and there were signs every where for free apples, we told all our neighbors they could come over and pick but none did. We turned ours into apple sauce, dried apples, pies and I was eating a few a day fresh.

I bought 6 persimmons from real tree nurseries and 4 of the 6 died two years ago and those two lived through last years winter but I think my area of Zone 5 B is marginal at best for them. If anyone has seeds from a zone 5 persimmon I would love to get some to plant out into my woods for the wildlife/livestock once we develop that area into paddocks.
 
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Walter Jeffries wrote:My mind boggles...



Did any of your apples look like this, Walter?



I'm curious, also, of the idea that the tree produces as many pounds of apples whether it has 500 or 50 apples. Does thinning 90% really pay off in the end?
 
Walter Jeffries
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Milo Jones wrote:Did any of your apples look like this, Walter?



No, I've never seen an apple grow in a bag. We primarily grow apples as a source of food for our livestock. Looks don't matter to them.

Milo Jones wrote:I'm curious, also, of the idea that the tree produces as many pounds of apples whether it has 500 or 50 apples. Does thinning 90% really pay off in the end?



I've heard that too but am dubious based on observation.

What I do see is the tree naturally thins itself. Apples start dropping in late June but there are lots of apples left that continue growing and dropping through November even. The wind shakes the tree and the weaker apples drop through the season. Some trees still have lots of apples on them now and it is mid-November.
 
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If you guys are really sick of them, why don't you organize for someone to pick them and transport them to a near city or something like that? You can sell them for cheap and walk away with decent money in the end.
 
Posts: 27
Location: Southern Colorado 6200 ft elevation, 20" annual precip, zone 6a/5b
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Compost? The only drawback I've encountered is yellow jackets nested in gathered rotting apples.
 
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Location: Mad City, Wisconsin
trees food preservation bee
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Milo Jones wrote: What I do see is the tree naturally thins itself.



Not enough.
If you want any decent apples - there must not be any doubled/tripled fruit.
Only singles.
Don't be greedy (ask me how I know).
Even single apples still need to be thinned out as the tree still keeps too many.
Take care of the tree first and do not let it to self-destroy due to over-production - the tree is a long-term project.
This is not about feeding the pigs with apple-based fodder; this is about protecting the tree as a long-term investment (if you care, of course).

 
Gregory T. Russian
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Milo Jones wrote: Does thinning 90% really pay off in the end?



Yes; I think so.
10-20% of the originally set fruit - all you need.
Plenty.
Take care of the tree - first priority. It will thank you.
 
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I love making apple butter in the slow cooker to use up lots of apples ...
 
Gregory T. Russian
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Dawn Duffy wrote:I love making apple butter in the slow cooker to use up lots of apples ...



I actually modified the slow cooker method.
Last year with so many apples, I would juice them first.
It takes many apples to produce some juice - outstanding juice, mind you.
But then all the apple mush from the juice maker - i dump it into the slow cooker (add a pinch of cinnamon to taste).
Since much of the juice is gone already, takes much shorter time to cook.
I found this to be a very efficient process - almost nothing wasted, all the while this takes lots of apple to make some apple butter.
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
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To make fast work of drying apples. I use a french fry cutter and can process 2 lbs/ minute. Then I dry them and sometimes powder the dried ones for extra compact storage.



IMG_1831.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_1831.jpg]
 
steward
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The link for whizbang apple press on page one is broken.
Here is the new link.

http://whizbangcider2.blogspot.com/
 
pollinator
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As already mention Cider, hard and soft.  People pay big money for fresh cider and apple cider donuts.   Make an apple press from Tractor Supply parts or buy one.  If only I had your problem.  
 
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apple vinegar is great to make too

Apple Vinegar
 
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Will pigs damage trees? Strip bark or dig up the roots?
 
Julia Winter
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We have American Guinea Hog (some with Kunekune mixed in, although some have snouts way too long to be either of those) in our apple orchard, and they don't bother the mature trees.  

The longer snouted pigs dig more and more deeply.  I haven't seen any bark chewing, but I don't think I want to give them access to trunks in the winter, when other things to chew on become more scarce.  We try to keep them moving, and mostly set their pens up in between the trees, honestly.
 
Julia Winter
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Speaking of lots of apples, we just bought 900lbs of "seconds" for $150, which seemed like a pretty good deal.  They're softer than I like for eating out of hand, but the cider we pressed yesterday was really good (better than from the tiny hard apples from our neglected orchard)(hey, we just bought the place).

I've got three 5 gallon buckets with better looking apples in my downstairs garage, for making apple sauce this coming weekend.

We are feeding apples to pigs, goats and chickens.
 
Cj Sloane
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Julia Winter wrote:Speaking of lots of apples, we just bought 900lbs of "seconds" for $150, which seemed like a pretty good deal.  



That's even a good deal for livestock feed
 
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My sheep are harvesting many of our dropped apples. But, apples for compost! I think this actually deserves a permies apple from someone. Here's the ticket: 1) Gather apples. 2) Drive over/mash with heavy wheels over a tarp. 3) Collect & mix with carbonaceous material like wood chips. 4) Dump into pile at least 3 feet/1 m square. 5)  Harvest resulting mulch/compost (results depend on recipe and care) when desired.
I've got a nice batch heating up now which engenders my usual excess of brown/high carbon materials with this seasonal flush of high nitrogen apples to result in a hopefully beautiful soil additive offspring for spring!
 
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Cider will definitely use a lot of surplus apples, and is easy to barter or convert to other products.

In terms of preserves, applesauce is OK, but I prefer to can
-apple pie filling (big chunks, just follow any pie recipe and leave out the butter, or use a canning recipe for apple or pear slices and add more cinnamon. acid/sugar and processing times are key to food safety).

-apple butter: fruit sweetened with apple juice if available. Easier to thicken slowly overnight in an oven, then add in more wet stuff again before canning.

Apple butter has more spices than traditional applesauce, and ours also makes a great base for BBQ sauce.

-Or you can keep going in the oven or a dehydrator with applesauce or apple butter for fruit leather if you want. Spices and some other fruits, like berries grapes cranberies and/or lemon, keep it more interesting than plain apple rings for winter snacking.

- chutneys: spiced fruit and veg condiments to use on meats or with cheese and crackers.  Usually contain vinegar which you can also make as already mentioned. Chutneys can be a good use of thinned or unripe apples, which can help the rest grow to larger size.

- cider plus: apple wine /hard cider is lovely and keeps longer without refrigeration. Depending where you live, it may not be legal to freeze or distill into apple brandy, but that stuff also rocks.
Taste batches before choosing which to ferment: musty or wormy flavors generally worsen, while tart or astringent flavors will generally mellow beautifully.  
Apples generally have plenty of natural yeast, but it depends where you are whether it makes a good wine, or is more of a bread yeast, sourdough, or skunky wild yeast. If in doubt, to avoid contamination by rotten spots or local molds, start by taking the juice, filter, boil, cool, and then hit with cider or champagne yeast to start a clean ferment. Protect from fruit flies at all times, also known as vinegar flies in the wine world.

There are some great recipes for spiced ciders and mixed fruit wines and meads.

All of the above taste great with pork.


Finally, social options (people as pigs? as more than pigs?)

If your cider processing is slow, apple season is a great excuse for a party to share the wealth.

Some areas also have gleaners' associations, who will harvest surplus foods for low income families and food banks.
Some food banks also organize volunteers to harvest u-pick donations.
And in some areas, I've known very cool orchard owners who create charitable programs to get fruit into schools for free, or sell it to support such programs, so kids aren't distracted from learning by empty stomachs.

Local kids may be willing to pick and help you store for small per-bucket wages and all the fruit they can eat. May lead to better outreach to a few working families, and more personal relationships than donations, if you prefer to support work and reciprocity.
Invite your favorite picker to bring 2-3 kids to do this together, the competition and camraderie will often enhance the results.
I've also been on the receiving end of adult deals, where I process excess harvest into storable treats, and split the results with the raw producer. A few deals like this and you both have sauces, cheeses, drinks, and all the party fixings for a luxurious winter.

Mother Nature often does let food go to waste/compost; but with an overproducing tree like domestic bred apples, that's a recipe for insect damage as mentioned above.
 In some areas, wasps, ants, deer, and bear will come for the surplus if it's left on the ground.  Horses can eat only small amounts, they are subject to colic/foundering if they gorge on apples. I think apple mash can be part of the cold season feed for cattle or buffalo, esp. as silage for cattle, but they don't prefer them in quantity like pigs do.
 
pollinator
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Besides giving them away to a food pantry? Juice and applejack... and apple cider vinegar. When you have more than enough for your needs, spread the wealth. You may even get some help harvesting if you offer part of the crop in payment.
My apple trees are just starting to give and last year, 3 of them had big crops. I made juice with an apple press I built from scratch from a kit. I mounted a garbage disposal in a stainless steels sing and made the cabinet around it. That was the best way to get these apple ground into a mash. I found it so simple and quick I might make applesauce that way. They don't have time to brown and you are done! Here is a look at the press you can make from a kit.
http://whizbangcider2.blogspot.com/
We drank as much of the sweet goodness as we could and gave the peelings to the chickens who really appreciated the bounty. The juice was not sterilized, so I added some champagne yeast to it and let it ferment. It was OK but not very strong and because of the champagne yeast had a slight dryness and even a touch of bitterness in the last part of the mouthfeel. I didn't want to spend the money to bottle all that... until I read about making applejack.
After filtering, I placed the weak booze in food grade homer pails with a little more sugar... and stuck the pails outside in a snowbank. All the good stuff went to the bottom with the alcohol because alcohol does not freeze even in a Wisconsin winter. It was technically ready the next day because of the cold but I waited a week [I had a lot of other things to do.]
I then poked a hole in the center and lifted a big ice donut which I threw away.  I now had applejack which I bottled as is in grolsch bottles with EZ caps: They have a metal spring with a ceramic cap and rubber. They are pricey, but since it is only for home consumption and they are reusable, it works great.
https://www.amazon.com/s?k=ez+cap+bottles&gclid=CjwKCAjw5fzrBRASEiwAD2OSV0nMVaBV9tti-Q3bmTk8DpQiUbYJDAxQtNcuDfkVQ9lIGz2ZzOKd6hoCRQMQAvD_BwE&hvadid=173518411116&hvdev=c&hvlocphy=9019203&hvnetw=g&hvpos=1t1&hvqmt=b&hvrand=686008750620155019&hvtargid=kwd-2987329594&hydadcr=13930_9477081&tag=googhydr-20&ref=pd_sl_9hfk27gu63_b
Do refrigerate before opening so you don't get showered by the drink. Ask me how I know.
I have found an apple cider recipe in a book by Janet Garman called Do it yourself projects for keeping chickens. It involves fermenting apple peels from 12-14 apples with 1/4 c of sugar and water to cover an wait 10 days to 2 weeks at room temperature. Filter and place in a glass container with a solid lid. No need to refrigerate. I have not done it yet because ... applejack and chickens, but I may this year: apple cider vinegar has a lot of good uses too, even for cleaning, and it is great for your belly too.
 
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Cj Sloane wrote:To make fast work of drying apples. I use a french fry cutter and can process 2 lbs/ minute. Then I dry them and sometimes powder the dried ones for extra compact storage.





That's really cool. It looks like you are just putting in the apples whole. When do you remove the seeds, before you put the cut apple pieces in the dehydrator or do you just pick them out when you are eating the dried apples?
 
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