Appalachian Food

Grandma Josephine Dried the Apples

pan of dried apples

“I remember helping my Grandma Josephine when she dried the apples. She would spread a white sheet on the tin roof of the pack house. We’d spread the apple slices in a single layer. There they would stay baking in the heat of the sun. Later, the sheet would be gathered with the apple slices inside and kept indoors until the next day. Then, off we’d go again, up the ladder to the top of the tin roof, spreading our slices, and waiting for the sun to do its job. This went on for several days until the apple slices were the perfect dryness. Then, Grandma stored them for the winter. She made the best dried apple pies with a made from scratch crust and fried apple turnovers, mmmm! Nothing ever tasted so good!”

—Kimberly Rodriguez  – 2018

My apple drying is over for this year, but I looked through the Blind Pig and The Acorn archives and discovered I’ve written about drying apples, as well as the best recipe to make with those dried apples over the years I’ve been blogging.

Ken Roper’s surgery will be today. They’re expecting to do at least three bypasses. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers. A big thank you to those who sent cards and/or called him. He said the calls and cards made him feel a whole lot better!


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  • Reply
    October 6, 2020 at 9:39 pm

    Prayers for Ken and his medical team! Speedy recovery Ken!

  • Reply
    Rascal Barnett
    October 6, 2020 at 7:16 pm

    My Momma dried everything, I remember dried apples and dried apple pies.She would lay her apples out on a clean sheet on to of an ole car but I can also remember stringing green beans and butter beans on thread,using a needle and thread,same with pepper’s both red and green.We smoked our pork and I can remember my Dad and Granddad rubbing meat down with salt n our smokehouse too.The ole time ways were great even when our water would freeze in the water bucket “ cause Dad would bank down our coal heatin stove” at bedtime.Does anyone else remember bankin down the heatin stove?

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    October 6, 2020 at 3:07 pm

    I think I mentioned before that my Grandmother dried her apples on a huge quilting frame with attached sheets or cheese cloths. This was in a spare bedroom upstairs an got hot as blazes up there. Every so often she would go in and stir the apples around with a long stick…She kept the curtains open on the four windows that faced the sun until afternoon. She always gave my Mom some dried apples just before Thanksgiving and Christmas…Mom of course always helped with the peeling and cutting process if we were there in the summer. Mom rarely dried apples after we moved to the city…
    I made Apple Butter the new-fangled way last night….Crock-pot Apple Butter…I used a variety of apples, sixteen cups chopped and it cooked overnight. The house smelled like a Fall Festival all night long. I got up and put up four pints of the purtyiest brown apple butter this morning. A little bit was left over for biscuits…Last time I made Apple Butter on top of the stove it was a stirring, stirring process…Think I love making it in the crock-pot. My ancestors made it outside in a big cast iron pot back in the day…Everyone shared in the canned up jars full….
    The squirrels and deer got out apples we had this year. Weren’t many due to a late frost…We bought these at Carver’s Apple House in Cosby…Love that place and the great variety of apples they have growing in their beautiful orchards..

    Sorry to hear Ken has been sick…I will try to get him a card. My husband is visiting the water works doctor, eye doctor and RA doctor…Guess he wore out his joints playing and umpiring ball all these years. So, I haven’t been able to keep up so much with our Appalachian blogs.
    Always love reading all comments and your stories about our heritage…Stay well and safe from the covid..

  • Reply
    October 6, 2020 at 12:43 pm

    My mom and dad and us as kids did this yrs ago. We would put them on a sheet and lay them on tin. It worked. I love old timey ways. I know it’s harder on some things but it just takes me back home and with my mom and dad. I fix 3 pumpkin pies . They are so good. Couldn’t wait till next month. Hope Ken is doing alright. Tipper, I seen where one of the others had said, publish a cook book and I have said it. You should do it. I sure would buy one. I love cook books. Have grannies recipes and your and who ever.

  • Reply
    October 5, 2020 at 6:06 pm

    Prayers for Mr Ken. Love me some fried apple pies, and just plane eating dried apples.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    October 5, 2020 at 11:17 am

    I tried to dry apples outside in the sun but the ants and yellerjackets wouldn’t leave them alone. I even put some up on the dash of my truck but the ants found their way in. So I gave up and bought a cheap dehydrator. I don’t have apples on the place so I buy deer apples at local orchards and produce places. They are harder to work up but you can’t beat $6.00 for a fifty pound sack. And the sack is tough and handy for other uses.

    I called Ken yesterday and we talked for a good while. I cried and he cried and told me he loved me. I tried to reassure him that he was in God’s hands and that no matter how this turned out he would be better off. Let me know when you hear something, please.

  • Reply
    Margie Goldstein
    October 5, 2020 at 9:32 am

    I think dried fruit is delish! It’s pretty easy to do and of course in the winter, it seems especially tasty. It’s healthy and full of flavor. Prayers for Mr. Ken’s surgery today, a full recovery, and his family. Did you say apple stack cake? I’ll be right over. Have a great day all BP & A readers!

  • Reply
    October 5, 2020 at 9:22 am

    I know I have already posted but I thought about Jimk saying nothing was wasted. As a child growing up in the late 50’s and 60’s, I remember my grandparents and parents saving and using everything they could. We were not starving but we had to be careful. My grandfather would even save bent nails and straighten them back out to reuse. He raised a family of seven during the depression and made a living farming 40 acres. My daddy would say as a joke nothing was wasted from a hog, the squeal was even sold to Chevrolet. He was referring to the time the bodies were made by Fisher and as the cars got older the doors would squeak when opened. I hope most of us do not know what it must of have been like to live through the depression or the rationing during WW2. God has been good to us.

  • Reply
    October 5, 2020 at 9:08 am

    I started my day with a prayer for Ken. My apples, pears and peaches got killed during the May freeze. I miss them even more this year since I bought a brand new dehydrator I was dying to try on fruit. Mom never dried pears. Makes me want to research the reason why she didn’t.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    October 5, 2020 at 8:46 am

    I remember my Granny drying apples. She spread them out on an old window screen and put them out on the front porch to dry in the sun. If there was anything that could be preserved she did it. She had lived through the depression when food was scarce and not enough to go around. From then on she always put up more food that they could ever eat….just in case!

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    October 5, 2020 at 8:34 am

    So you did manage to get some apples before the critters. The apples on my lone apple tree never get ripe because something eats them first. Same way with the sarvis and the blueberries. I dried them green and sour.

    There wasn’t – as far as I know – any such thing as trail mix when I was growing up. But any of the dried fruit would sure go well in trail snack, even sour green apples.

    By the way, I recall that when I was small Mom had trouble having pectin to get some fruit to gell. So she mixed apple peel (I tried to put “peelings’ but the computer didn’t like it.) in because it had pectin. Then somewhere along the way Sure Jell came out on the market. Am I remembering it right, do any of you all know?

  • Reply
    carol harrison
    October 5, 2020 at 7:57 am

    I remember my dad buying dried apples and dried corn in bags from a store in Tionesta, PA in the 1940’s and 50’s. My grandmother loved both but especially the dried corn. She cooked it and brought it “to life” as she said. I haven’t had that for many, many years now. I remember that it was so good.

  • Reply
    gayle larson
    October 5, 2020 at 7:56 am

    Prayers for Ken. Love dried apples but never helped dry them. Now I wish I had.

  • Reply
    October 5, 2020 at 7:28 am

    My mother and grandmother would dry apples on a piece of roofing tin and then store them in a clean white pillow case along with some twigs from a sassafras tree. They used apples from a tree they called a horse apple tree. The apples were only used for jelly and drying. Those fried apple pies cooked in hog lard in a cast iron frying pan with just enough edge to hold a little grease were the best. Of course the dough was hand made. Does anyone ever wonder how we made it through the old days without dying? Galvanized tin, drinking water from creek, all the bad things we ate, everything fried in lard.

    • Reply
      b. Ruth
      October 6, 2020 at 2:49 pm

      My Grandparents lived on hog grease, buttermilk, whole milk, fresh butter n’ cream. Bacon, ham, fatback bean seasoning the leather britches. Fresh killed chicken, skin on, floating and frying in lard in an iron skillet. Zinc milk buckets and wash tubs…Lye soap to tallow wax candles. Fresh mill ground flour and cornmeal with maybe a “miller bug larvae” here or their if didn’t get sifted out when measured up for baking…Walking the woods and meadows for poke, creasy greens, berries and nuts. Remember all these foods were not processed and filled with additives the government says we have to have…Canned juice and cider from apple, cherry and peach trees without the added C….LOL All the hard work balanced out any cholesterol/fat build up in our bodies…My Grandparents on both sides and parents lived to ripe old ages…one aunt reached a 104 milestone…but got sick after no one could care for her and in the nursing home. I still get sick to my stomach when that storebought margarine is one molecule less of plastic and doesn’t melt on toast…I use butter..but with moderation…I’m eighty…

  • Reply
    October 5, 2020 at 7:14 am

    Our prayers go out to Mr Roper, hope all goes well.
    Read your link to making apple jelly from peeling and cores. That’s a neat idea, ” Waste not want not”.

    • Reply
      Ed Ammons
      October 5, 2020 at 10:56 am

      The peelings and cores are where the pectin is. You don’t really have to add Sure-Gel or anything like that to apple jelly.

  • Reply
    K. Paul
    October 5, 2020 at 7:01 am

    Please publish a cookbook! Yes, I’m begging.
    Thanks! 🙂

  • Reply
    Don Byers
    October 5, 2020 at 6:13 am

    Prayers for Ken! My Aunts Ella Faye & Viola Byers dried peaches and apples…on the tin roof of an outbuilding on Murphy Hwy(129).

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