The people I work with have gotten used to the idea that I’m the person who is likely to make use of leftovers of one form or another.
“Will any of your critters eat these stale carrot muffins?”
“We’re going on vacation and had two tomatoes and three peppers left in the fridge … would you like them?”
and now …
“We have a lot of apples off our tree this year, would you be able to make use of them? They’re kinda banged up…”
The chickens love carrot muffins, and we are not at all embarrassed to make good use of surplus food, no matter how it came to be surplus. And apples … oh my, there are so many uses for apples!
Some of the sheep like to eat them, right out of your hand. The small ones (which they can get into their mouths to chew) are great treats.
Really damaged apples make great juice: just cook them with some water until they soften, then hang them in the juice bag over night. The juice, cooked with a lot of sugar and a bit of pectin, makes a marvelous apple syrup, which is delicious mixed with oatmeal and hot water for breakfast (my usual morning fare, eaten once I get to the office).
Apples in any sort of in-between state make good apple sauce, which in turn makes good fruit leather. I just dump the apples into the big cauldron (stock pot), add a bit of water, and cook until they turn to mush, assisting as needed with the potato masher. The resulting pulp is scooped into a colander resting on a large bowl, and squished so that the soft, smooth paste goes through the colander mesh and the larger seeds, skins and chunky bits remain in the colander. The leftovers are fed to the chickens or sheep, and the pulp is poured into jars. I could hot process the jars and keep apple sauce for winter, but at the moment I’m on a fruit leather kick – our kids all love it, and the home made stuff is so much better than the store kind … no preservatives, no packaging, and only as much sugar as is needed to sweeten up the apples. I have trays for the dehydrator that are specifically for making fruit leather, so all I have to do is pour the apple sauce onto the trays and plug it in overnight. Voila – fruit leather!
I’ve also done some apples as dried apple chunks, for winter baking, although that takes more work and is best suited to big apples that are worth the effort of peeling. :)
It really doesn’t require a whole lot of effort, and it’s such a good feeling to have healthy, home made food to put in the pantry. Even if it was just “leftovers” to start with!