Apple Sugar

Posted on 2024-02-07

Ordinary Wisdom

[Karen] So I was cleaning off my desk today and came across this recipe for apple sugar that I forgot about. I think it is appropriate for Friday’s Challenge in case you are not growing sugar beets here is another alternative. https://learningandyearning.com/apple-sugar

[Mick] Karen, thanks for the article! I’ve never heard of apple sugar; but since we have several apple trees and an abundance of apples every year, I’d like to give this a try. As I was reading the comments section in the article, I saw several other excellent ideas (apple syrup and apple cider jelly being two of them). Also, this article brought back to my mind an idea that I’ve been tossing around for at least a decade: making “beet sugar” out of dehydrated and powdered sugar beets. It’s not the refined beet sugar that you’d get at a grocery store; but it would be a ton simpler to make, and there’d be no waste involved (since the whole beet except for the skins would be used in the final product). I remember reading on this thread a while back that beets have to be cooked before they’re dehydrated. So what I’d probably do is bake the sugar beets, cool and peel them, and then dice (or maybe shred?) them before dehydrating. Even if I didn’t have electricity and so couldn’t powder the dried beets finely in a blender or food processor, I’m hoping that I could put them through my grain mill. If the beet pieces are too hard for that, then perhaps I could rough-grind them with either my molcajete or my mortar and pestle. That would be laborious, but it might be faster and simpler than making beet syrup. Looking forward to doing some experimenting when fall gets here.

[Marilyn] What about running them through a meat grinder? I would think that would be a start.
Mick: I assume you mean after they’ve been baked? That sounds like an idea worth trying. I have a cast-iron meat grinder that I’ve never used; this would be a good excuse to try it out. Then I could dehydrate the ground cooked beets.
Marilyn: Correct. And maybe even after they have been dehydrated. Some of the dehydrated stuff is pretty tough.

[Mick]  Another possibility that I’ve mulled over for a while is dehydrating the sugar beets but not powdering them. In order to use them, I could rehydrate them in a small amount of warm water, and then mashing them and using the mash as my sweetener.
Marilyn: Without electricity to do the grinding or pulverizing having something like a meat grinder to do the heavy lifting make gut decrease the amount of time and muscle needed.

[Marilyn] Both Would most likely work.

[Mick] So a meat grinder can be used for stuff that’s kind of kind of hard or tough? You (and by “you” mean “I”) learn somethin’ new every day. 🙂

[Marilyn] The hard dehydrated pumpkin purée really beats up the blender. As does the dehydrated potatoes.

[Mick] Good to know. Do you think that a meat grinder would handle them better?

[Carolyn] What an ingenious gal! ( in response to the apple sugar article) So what if you cooked, pureed then dehydrated on a silicone mat like fruit leather?

[Marilyn] Carolyn- that’s how I processed the pumpkin. I used a blender to powder it after it was dry.

[Carolyn] Btw…my husband uses the hand grinder all the time. When I freeze leftover turkey it sometimes has a not as great a taste as when it was fresh. So he grinds it with celery, onions, carrots or whatever else he finds and makes a turkey salad ish mix for sandwiches or casseroles.

[Marilyn] Great idea Carolyn. Makes me want to track ours down hidden away in a box somewhere.

[Mick] That might work as a geeral matter, but probably not for me: my dehydrator’s thermostat is broken, and it won’t go higher than about 115 degrees. It would take days to dehydrate a puree, so I’m looking for ways to take care of the situation without electricity. Regarding sugar beets, for instance, they are harvested in the fall, long after we’ve started burning wood in the woodstove. I have a 5-tray Amish-made dehydrator designed to be used on top of a woodstove. I could dry diced, sliced, or shredded vegetables on top of the woodstove while we’re heating the house, so it’d be a win-win. But I’m not sure I could do pureed stuff that way (this dehydrator wasn’t designed with fruit leather in mind, but maybe there’d be a way to reverse-engineer something). Are you referring to a meat grinder or a grain mill/grinder?

[Carolyn] Meat grinder. We have two. One from my grandmother and Ron’s is probably 100+ years old.

[Marilyn] Simple machine designs are still in style. I bet one could make carrot sugar as well. Home grown carrots are so sweet. Or plum sugar or any kind of fruit sugar if it is done in basically the same manner.Use carrot sugar in pumpkin pie.

[Kris] Also pear sugar. I made it accidentally.

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