Um, yeah, I’m excited too.

I have a few apple trees in my yard.  One is a gravenstein, which means I had apples a couple months before everyone else.  I wasn’t really sure if I was going to get many apples this year cause last year was a whole lotta nothin, and the tree is in kinda bad shape.  I didn’t actually pick any of the apples cause the tree is tall and the apples were up way high.  I just waited for them to fall and picked them up off the ground.  Between the bruises from the falling and the scab that always plagues this tree, there was lot of cutting away that had to be done.  Even so, and even with giving buckets of half rotten apples to my chickens, and even with the deer eating a good amount, I still wound up with tons of apples.  I made a couple pies and a couple cakes, but then decided to dry some so I could maybe make pies and cakes with the dried apples in the winter. I read on this food drying yahoo group that some people dip their apple slices in stuff before they dry them for flavor and one of the suggestions was jello powder.  As you can imagine, since you know me so well by now, I was simultaneously aghast and intrigued.  But mostly intrigued.  I had a box of tropical punch jello and gave it a whirl and tried them and then I COULD NOT STOP.  I moved onto custard pudding powder (cause I happened to have that handy too), then butterscotch pudding powder, then cinnamon and sugar, then mixed spice and sugar, and last but not least….brown sugar and butter powder (aka butter buds).  I also went ahead and did a batch of butterscotch pudding powder with brown sugar and butter powder, as well as the custard pudding powder with the aforementioned brown sugar and powdered butter.   They are soooooooooooo good.  See illustration below…

I dried them all under 105 degrees so they each took anywhere from 12 to 36 hours.  The caramel apple ones (brown sugar and butter) took the longest cause all that brown sugar formed a super glaze on the outside.  Oh mama.  As you can see I left the skin on in order to preserve some semblance of healthiness in this snack item.  It makes them a bit more chewy.

Oh, and I found out the hard way that if you dehydrate fruit or vegetables under 105 to keep them raw, and you intend to store them for a while, you need to freeze them for 24 hours to kill any eggs that may or may not hatch out into little teeny worms at a later date.

I now have a half gallon of each of these flavors sitting on my self.  I love them.

Update later in the day:  The half gallon jars are not sitting on my self – they are on my shelf.  Heh.