how bout them MN apples! (all winter long…)

It’s Apple Time!

I eat an apple most every day in my breakfast and appreciate the longevity of this crisp northern fruit.  Some connoisseur pals have made me aware of the multitudinous varieties grown locally. And living in the birthplace of the sensational Honey Crisp, we Minnesotans are bound to contract a bit of apple fever this time of year.

I eat local apples as long as I can find them in stores, usually well into December.  Have you noticed that off season apples come all the way from Chile and New Zealand?  Living in the heart of apple country, I was determined to find a better way.  After chatting up Denny Havlicek of Havlicek’s Orchard, I decided to try a more serious fall stock up this year.  I ordered 20# of Haralsons and 10# of Keepsakes to pick up on Sunday, Oct. 30th; the last day of the Kingfield Farmer’s Market.

End of Season Stockpile

I learned that the Keepsakes keep the longest (it’s how they got their name), and as one of the parent strains of the beloved Honeycrisp, they are quite a delicious apple in their own right.

Denny explained that the best place to keep apples is in your basement.  In his dirt floor cellar he keeps apples fresh all winter long with no waxes or chemicals.  Apples love moisture (80-90% humidity) and cool temps (close to freezing) so if you can wall off a corner from the heat, you can keep apples fresh a good long time.

I am a space-challenged apartment dweller; for fresh apples I am limited to the capacity of my refrigerator.  Fridges are too dry for apples, Denny warns.  I am to keep a wet paper towel in the apple bag to keep up the moisture. 10# of Keepsakes filled up half of my big crisper drawer.  I wish I had gotten more.  Yum!

Keepsakes in the Crisper

Haralsons are Denny’s recommendation for dehydrating because they are so tart, and dehydrating concentrates the sweetness.  Also Haralsons make killer apple pies, you just need to peel, slice and freeze them in a ziplock bag; and they are ready for your mid-winter pie fix.  I’m not much of a baker, so I’ll dehydrate most of my Haralson’s.  I’m a rabid fan of dried fruit.  So chewy!  I sharpened my best knife, found the apple corer, and set up a processing station.

Ready for Surgery

coring and slicing

For even drying, cut apple slices to a uniform thickness.  Resist temptation to use one of these:

Wedges that are thin one side and fat on the other are NOT ideal for dehydrating.

Next I loaded the slices into my dehydrator, conveniently located on top of our stereo turntable.

Excalibur Dehydrator:  It’s how the Knights of the Roundtable dried their apples.

Most people peel their apples before dehydrating, but I like the low maintenance and higher nutritional content of leaving the peelings on.  Good enough for me!

The rest of the Haralsons I plan to dice, leaving the peelings on, and freeze in individual apple servings.  These I can saute in a little vanilla, cinnamon, oil/butter and serve atop oatmeal.  It’s like super-healthy apple pie.

After my stock up, Denny gave me the best news—Havlicek’s continues to sell local apples through April.  Read below for details, and thanks for reading the Wednesday Post.

Denny Havlicek

Denny will be selling apples and honey at an indoor market every 3rd Saturday November thru April.  The market is at:

Local D’lish, 208 North 1st St., Minneapolis

You can also email him at or call him at 952-758-4386 to arrange for a delivery at other times when he comes to Minneapolis.  The apples he has in storage are: haralson, keepsake, fireside, and honey crisp.  Minimum order is 10# of apples, and honey will only be sold in quarts.


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