For this year’s holiday gifts I wanted to make an apple pie mead (a spiced cyser of sorts) and a pumpkin pie mead ( a caramelized spiced melomel) . Luckily for me I had a really great friend who went apple picking and brought me back just a couple of lbs of apples.
I knew that I didn’t want to use all the apples in the mead ( I wanted it more mead like then cyser like), and I didn’t want them to go to waist, so I figured why not dry some to take with me on the pilgrimage.
I KNEW they had dried apples in period… well I knew in the fact that I assumed and I never really went looking for documentation of dried apples in period.
So while these apples were drying in the oven ( I really need to get a dehydrator) I went looking.
After searching around, asking for recipes, and digging through a couple of books, I found some examples of dried fruit in period.
Scappi, Chapter 292, 2nd book, page 56.: dried plums and cherries, dried currants or dried sultanas
Romoli, 5th book, chapter 52, page 150: prunes, raisins, dried peaches
Apples were common during the 14th century as listed in NUMEROUS recipes and even in the Canterbury tales when they spoke of an apple wine
““I trowe that ye dronken han wyn ape” – The Manciple’s Tale”
Therefore I felt it was a reasonable speculation that an individual during the 14th century who recently was working with an abundance of apples could probably have some dried apples on them.
As I don’t have a dehydrator I dried them in the oven. I cored the apples, but left the skin on, and then cut them into even rings. For the first batch I soaked them in lemon water ( it took 3 days to do 3 batches) and dehydrated them. After the first batch I put cinnamon & cardamom into the lemon water to give them a little flavoring. Next time I would put the seasoning in the water but also sprinkle some on top.
I now have 1 food item on my list of items to pack- HOWEVER a note on dehydrated foods… They are a fabulous item to take with you as they pack small and light. As you eat them though they do absorb liquid in your stomach, so don’t really on them to much as you get a good portion of your water intake from your food and dehydrated foods don’t have any of their own water.