Have you ever considered adding fruit trees to your emergency food plan? Producing your own food is a great way to not only supplement your food storage, as well as to control your food supply. Homegrown apples are a great resource for your emergency reserve.
Fruit trees provide shade during the hot summer months. They are also a good source of food. Apple trees are fairly hardy and grown well in most climates. They do best in climates with a cold winter, moderate summer, and medium levels of humidity. There are over 10,000 varieties of apples to choose from, 1,000 of which are commonly grown in home gardens. Apple trees can vary in size from 10 to 30 feet tall as well as wide. An apple tree can yield over 100 pounds of fruit each year. Apple trees can live for 100 years or more. Now, that is a lot of free food! Think of it as food storage you keep outside.
Storing Whole Apples Apples are one of the fruits that can be stored in your food storage for months without risk of rotting. There are a couple methods that work, but the key to storing them is to keep them in a cool, dark, fairly humid room. The ideal storage temperature is about 35 degrees Fahrenheit.
Refrigerator - Store apples in a plastic bag with holes poked in it. Store it in the crisper section of your refrigerator with a damp paper towel. (You'll need to change the paper towel regularly.) Make sure you don't mix other fruits or veggies in the drawer because the ethyne gas produced from other foods can cause premature decaying.
Cold Storage Room- A cold storage room in a basement is an ideal place to keep your apples, especially if the room maintains a cool temperature year round. Simply wrap each apple in newspaper to prevent any decay from spreading to other apples and put them in your favorite food storage containers.
Freeze Dried Apples - If you want to join a new and growing trend, you can get a freeze drying machine. Simply slice your fruit and follow the instructions. When you're finished, add an oxygen absorber and seal the apples well before you add them to your emergency food storage.
Canning Apples While whole apples stay good for months in cool, dark storage spaces, a plentiful tree can produce too many apples to eat. What do you do with that abundant harvest? Can it, of course. Canning is a skill everyone should know how to do. Water bath canning is an easy way to get started. Water bath canning is perfect for preserving high acid foods like apples. Follow the recipe below to preserve your apples.
Water Bath Canning
- 3 to 5 pounds of Apples
- 2 1/4 cups of Sugar
- Cinnamon Sticks
- 13 1/4 cups of water
- 1/2 cup of lemon juice
- Make a simple syrup to cover the apples.
- Whisk the sugar into the 5 1/4 cups of water. Bring the mixture to a boil just until the sugar dissolves. Add a cinnamon stick for flavor.
- Put 8 cups of water and half a cup of lemon juice in a bowl.
- Peel and core the apples. Remove all bad parts of the apples. Place peeled apples in the lemon water, this will prevent them from browning all the way. Stir to coat all of the apples.
- Reduce the heat to low on the simple syrup.
- Strain the apples.
- Add the apples to the syrup and bring the mixture to a boil. Boil for about 5 minutes.
- Remove the apples from the heat and fill the glass mason jars. Fill the jars to the lid line. Spoon in the syrup, remove air as you go.
- Allow the lids to heat up in a pan. Screw on the lids finger tight.
- Place the jars on a canning rack. Boil them in a large pot for about 30 minutes. Cook time may vary depending on altitude.