My neighbour over the back fence grows golden delicious apples. His tree is 27 years old and he grafted it himself all those years ago. I asked him ‘how did you learn to do this?’ to which he replied ‘I am from la campagna, from the land, not the city. It’s in my blood to do this’. I always try to learn as much as I can from him as he’s 80 years old and has been food gardening next door for over 30 years. His tree is heavily laden with fruit and he hands me over a crate of apples that fell to the ground that morning. I urged him to give them to family as we have heaps already. He wouldn’t take no for an answer as he gets so many from the tree he needs to make sure they will be eaten and used.
These ones all had a big bruise on the side they hit the ground and some had cracked from the force of the drop so they needed to be eaten pronto. I didn’t have time to preserve in jars so I decided to make fruit leather with them instead. I had four peaches that needed to be eaten soon as well as half a punnet of strawberries in the fridge. I made three different leathers all using the apple as a base.
1/2 punnet strawberries
Chop off any bruised or damaged bits and put in compost or give to the chooks.
Peel and core the apples. Don’t throw the peels and cores out, save them to make apple scrap vinegar.
Chop up the rest roughly and place into a large heavy based pot. Add a splash of water and put the stove on a medium heat. Add a lid. What you want is the apples to start softening so that you can use a stick blender to make into a puree. Once you have the puree use this as the base to blend in other flavours. No need to be precise with measurements but you do want enough of the other ingredients flavour to shine through.
Place baking paper on the dehydrator trays and add the puree. This was enough for 6 trays. Dehydrate on 70C for 7 hours. When finished let it cool. They should be able to be peeled off the baking paper without sticking. If they are still a bit wet or sticky put them back in the dehydrator for longer. To serve roll them up and slice into short lengths. Store in jar.