We’ve been busy the past couple of months dealing with the harvests, including a bumper crop of apples. Many apples ended up being processed for drying or sauce, which requires removing the core. We had a couple of tools that we once used, a hand-cranked apple peeler/corer device (with the peeler portion disabled) and a tube-type apple corer. Both of these worked OK with large, firm, symmetrical fruits. But both tools were hard to get centered properly, especially on fruits that were misshapen. And the fixed diameter was excessive for smaller fruits like the Chestnut Crab. Removing a cylindrical core through the apple also removed edible portions of the fruit at the stem and blossom ends, wasting good food. Of course, a knife can always be used to cut and core apples, but as usual we were looking at a way to do this task more efficiently, both to save time and reduce waste.
We found that cutting the fruits in half from stem to blossom end was the first step. Then we use a sharpened stainless steel tableware spoon to gouge/scoop out the core. Lastly, the stem and blossom ends are removed with a paring knife. When working with 2 people, this can go very quickly, breaking down the steps into an assembly line process and finishing up with running the trimmed apple halves through a Kitchen-Aid slicer or cutter attachment. This tool/process works equally well for pears, as shown at the top of the picture.
We have a friend who doesn’t bother removing the cores when making slices for drying. He has an old meat slicer that he sets up for making thin slices of his apples. The seeds fall out of the thin slices as they shrink and dry, and the fibrous seed cavity is mostly unnoticeable when the fruit is dry.
Coring is also avoided when making cider, as the cores are generally left in the fruit to run through the grinder. To further reduce waste, cores removed from processing apples can be added to a cider pressing, or you can feed them to animals. Our sheep and chickens really love their share of the apple harvest! So we dehydrate the pomace left from pressing cider to feed over the winter to our critters.