According to the New York Times, the Environmental Working Group has found that apples top the "Dirty Dozen" list of pesticide-laden produce for the third year in a row.
That list really makes you want to grow your own, doesn't it? That's what it did to me. The first year we moved to Oak Hill, we planted an assortment of dwarf fruit trees including four varieties of apples. Not all of them survived, and some years we have a bigger yield than others, but our apples are truly organic.
When I peel apples to can them or make a pie, I save the peels and the cores in the freezer. When I have a large enough stash of them and some time to spare, I make apple juice.
It's a simple process: just dump the bag of apple peels into a large pot and add filtered water. Bring to a boil and cook for awhile, until the apples are soft and mushy. Then pour this "apple soup" through a strainer and then through cheesecloth to catch all the solids. Using a jelly bag or muslin will give you the clearest juice. Then I either freeze or can the juice if I'm not ready to use it right way.
Why make apple juice?
- The juice can be used to make apple jelly or mixed-fruit jelly.
- It can be sweetened and thickened to use as apple syrup on pancakes.
- Or you can sweeten to taste and drink it.
If you can spare a few apple cores or peels, your chickens, horses, goats and pigs will enjoy disposing of them for you. You can also dehydrate some of the peels to use in homemade potpourri.
Watching a hen run away from the rest of the flock with a long apple peel trailing behind her is guaranteed to make me laugh.
My hope is to inspire you, and to encourage your homesteading plans and your dreams of a
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