Metaphysics, myth and alchemy come to mind as I pluck a golden orb from branches so weighted down they are in a perpetual prayer pose. An immortal prize. The Asian pears, so ripe, the thinned skins burst at one bite and rewards one with a simple, clean, crisp, sweet juice that's difficult to keep from dribbling from the lips to chin! Delicious eaten out of hand, sliced into salads, or with cheese or nuts, preserving the delicate, exotic flavor is another challenge for the Old Frog Pond Farm kitchen.
Kitchen Experience: Anna Fialkoff is busy in the farm kitchen and pantry preparing trays of Fiesta and Honey Crisp apples for the dehydrator. Linda shows me the latest quarterly edition of the Northeast Organic Farming Association's The Natural Farmer, with a timely focus on food preservation, and we check out tips for processing. We inspect the first tray of apples, and notice how quickly the color is turning. We check other sources online to determine if an acidic is used to keep them from browning. Yes, some use ascorbic acid, but we don't have any on hand, so in the New England tradition, "Make do or do without", we experiment with a batch of apples tossed in lemon juice. We try drying the Asian pears as well, and soon every tray is full and the soft, 140 degree heat of the dehydrator will hum through the night, concentrating the essence of the fruits.
Tasting Notes: Both apples and pears dried quite crisply. Oh, they are apple and pear chips! An unbelievably sweet and tart crunch. The lemoned batch was even sparkier. Would be a perfect snack when in need of appeasing a sweet tooth. They could be added to granola, softened in oatmeal, etc....for the time being they are handed out as snacks at Old Frog Pond Farm's table at the Harvard Farmer's Market on Saturdays.
Next batch exploration : Slice thicker, dry less time, for a moister, softer and chewier texture.
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