When I published the Oh, Horse Apples! tablescape post last month, I mentioned that I wanted to dry these unique “apples”. They have a brain-like texture in gorgeous lime green that I love. When you mix them in arrangements with any type of purple leaves, they are stunning!
I had not found a way to preserve them easily, but I searched again on-line. Nothing like a tablescape post to get me motivated!
There are two ways to preserve these beauties. Each recommended hand-picking the apples from the tree before they fall to prevent bruising.
I braved my way through forest and bee hive to collect a few apples within reach. Don’t I sound tough? It didn’t take me long to skedaddle out of there once I stirred up the angry bees.
I’ve added extension nippers to my Christmas list. Santa, are you listening?
One way to preserve the apples is fairly easy. Tie a string around them one direction, then the other, and hang them for a month.
Don’t they look like planets in a science project? Ha!
I collected and hung these on September 27th. Supposedly this way of preserving maintains their color.
UPDATE: One month later, these were covered with brown spots, so I discarded them. Orbiting is not the way to dry horse apples!
The second way to preserve the apples is to slice them and bake them. I was very leery of this one!
Horse apples are hard, so I took out my sharpest knife, a cutting board, and sliced them as close to 1/4″ as possible. Check closely to see my uneven slices. I’m proof that imperfect slices dry just fine. Hey, we are doing science projects!
I must tell you that this is a sticky (sticky!) process. Try your best to contain your stickiness because it is a little hard to clean. (Goo Gone Spray Gel worked well.)
Place a rack on a baking sheet and cover it with parchment paper. Pre-heat oven at the lowest setting. My lowest is 170º.
You want air to get around the slices as much as possible, so balance them on little rounds of foil.
Place them so they don’t touch others on the pan and carefully take them to the oven.
It takes about five hours with this method. I left the fan on inside my oven, cracked the door open occasionally, just to get air movement inside. After checking at the five-hour timing, I thought they needed longer. Back they went for another hour.
Aren’t they interesting?
Much smaller than I expected. Since I wasn’t sure they were completely dry, I added some to a bowl of potpourri. They have no scent, but you could add some essential oil drops for that.
I took some slices to the mud room for a family reunion with the orbits.
I have to say, the orbits at this point don’t look too good. I’m beginning to see some brown spots on a couple. Maybe I dropped them while running from the bees? Well, wouldn’t you? 😉
Stay tuned for phase 2 of our science project of drying horse apples phase 2 of our science project of drying horse apples, y’all.
Have you dried anything lately? Tell us all about it!
I’m sharing with Metamorphosis Monday today. Follow me there for more inspiration!