We were blessed with a bushel basket full of apples from some church friends. Bruce, the kids and I had the chance to go to their house one Sunday evening and get some old wood to use for our new chicken coop. Our wonderful friends gave us a tour of the house and property, showed up their garden and trees. I was thrilled when I saw the apples hanging from the trees and covering the ground. Her father had planted the trees years ago, she doesn't even know what kind they are. We ended up with wood, apples, a few grapes, a wagon and a few more gifts. Such kind people!
The apples were very tart and not the best for eating fresh. I dried about half the apples in the dehydrator. The rest were used to make apple sauce. I canned some and we ate some right away. I gave a bunch to Mary since she was generous enough to share her apple crop with us. The kids and I eat the dried fruit for snacks and I use it when I make granola. I gave my mom some of the apple sauce.
We have some of the apple peels and cores to the chickens. The girls love anything fresh and I prefer not ot give them chicken feed if I can. I used the rest of the apple peels to make vinegar. It was a lot easier than I thought. Put the peels and cores in a jar. Fill it water. Cover with a cloth. (I used a canning band and a wash cloth.) Don't use a canning lid. The microorganisms need the oxygen to work their magic. Otherwise, you'll end up with a foul smelling mess. That's what I made on my first try. :) Let it sit for 2 weeks and voila! Vinegar. I use the vinegar as a rinse for my hair. It takes out any residue from soap or styling products. I don't use shampoo, I use my homemade bar soap on my hair. We have hard well water and sometimes it doesn't rinse really clean. Commercial apple cider vinegars were a little harsh on my hair and left it feeling yucky. My homemade version is much more mild (and fruity smelling) and seems to work better for me.
We're thankful for what we have and are given and try not to waste an ounce.