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Dried Apples and botulism

Discussion in 'Preparedness & Survival' started by MSneuropil, Jul 31, 2011.

  1. MSneuropil

    MSneuropil Mt. Pilchuck area Washington New Member

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    Hi folks, I've been busy putting up a lot of dried foods and recently bought a box of Dried Apples ($70.00 worth) from Winco. First let me say that I am taking back the box of apples because the box says on it that it is a product of China...BUT this experience has me questioning whether or not I should use O2 absorbers with commercially dried apples. I am reluctant to order apples now unless I can be assured that it is a USA product.

    Any experienced apple lovers putting up dried apples?? Does the LDS apples come from the USA and are they dry enough for O2absorbers?? What about botulism potential in commercially dried apples that appear to be moister than home dried apples??

    Any brands or local resources suggestions?

    As I step up on my soap box....let me say that I find it very strange that when I go to a store (winco for instance) and order boxes of dried food that they do not have labels on their bulk products informing people that a product is not a USA product. ( I might also add that the bulk cornmeal has NO product of USA or any country on it nor a company or grain mill) I only learned of the fact the apples were a product of China after picking up a truck full of dried food boxes and bags and later opening the box and questioning how these apples were processed because they were so moist. I have no real problem buying an imported product if it is a product that is not available in the USA...and I want it bad enough ie.) bambo shoots or water chestnuts. But I don't want to buy APPLES from China when I live in Washington State! LOL! Besides if the USA has a problem with honey from China being contaminated with pesticides not allowed in the USA (and adulteration) then it follows that I don't want to put up dried apples from China not knowing what kind of unapproved pesticides might have been used on those apples.

    Just sayin...
     
  2. alphapygmy

    alphapygmy Yamhill County Active Member

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    I'm also curious about storing dried apples. We have several apple trees, might as well try and store some away. I thought if dehydrated they might only keep a year or two but we have acquaintances who are LDS and their info says if properly stored they can last 30 years. I'm still trying to figure out exactly what "properly stored" means though. They offered to take us to their food bank next time they go and I think we're going to take them up on it. About your soap box, I'm pretty much the same. I don't eat ANYTHING that says product of China. If I get more info on the apples I'll post whatever I find out.
     
  3. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    Botulism is deadly, but almost as many people die in this country from getting soil in wounds as they do from eating foods contaminated with botulism. It is a soil born organism.

    First you can be distressed that many if not most of our fresh vegetables come from South of the border where they also don't give a rip about chemicals or hygiene. I don't blame you for returning the Chinese apples where you want to store and not immediately cook them.

    Botulism is a danger in low acid foods including most vegetables and seeds (corn) but not in most fruits like apples, pears, berries, etc. due to the acid content. You can add lemon juice or vinegar to vegetables to avoid botulism. Botulism doesn't survive in an acidic environment. Canning is a whole different animal where a pressure cooker must be used to reach a high enough temperature long enough to kill botulism in low acid foods. That, I would read up on.

    You can also kill botulism by boiling your low acid foods for at least 20 minutes before eating them.

    Botulism thrives in an oxygen free environment, (canned foods for instance)

    Seal well-dried apples in mylar with oxygen absorbers and they will last for years.
     
  4. MSneuropil

    MSneuropil Mt. Pilchuck area Washington New Member

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    Well Winco would NOT take those China Apples back...oh well! I decided to go ahead and put them into mylar bags...but seriously...I do not think that I can be sure they are less than 10% moisture...so I decided to not use o2 absorbers. A risk of botulism is not a risk worth taking with these apples. I've bought dried fruit for baking for decades and never have received such moist fruit...and the fruit always lasted a year or so without any special storage. So I'll just chalk this up to a learning experience and hope that any of you that are tempted to order dried apples by the case from Winco will check the product in front of the sales manager BEFORE paying for the product.
     
  5. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    You won't get botulism in apples. They are too acidic. I would dry them in the oven, a dehydrator or a smoker without the wood smoke, and seal them in mylar with 02 absorbers. I would wash them well before eating due to curiosity about chemicals such as pesticides from China.
     
  6. MSneuropil

    MSneuropil Mt. Pilchuck area Washington New Member

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    I used to think that apples and most fruits, including tomatoes were NOT a risk for botulism...but I happen to love the subject of microbiology so I knew from my reading that many products we *thought* was safe due to the acid content were now being responsible for many cases of food poisoning.

    The reasons are many...but a common reason that things like apple juice, cider, Orange juice and tomatoes are found to be a cause of food poisoning NOW when they weren't in the past is because we have bred most tomatoes and oranges (for example) to be sweeter and thus they are less acidic. They now recommend that you add lemon juice or citric acid to your home canned tomatoes for just this reason. In fact they are now recommending that you PRESSURE CAN tomatoes now for that very same reason.

    I just know I read that you MUST have a product with 10% or less moisture BEFORE putting in an anaerobic (o2 depleted environment) or you risk botulism. And I read that brown sugar store anaerobic can get botulism due to a higher than 10% moisture. These apples sure seem moister than my brown sugar....LOL!

    I might add....these dried apples really don't have much of a taste to them at all...so I'm not sure I'd be using them as long as I had other fruit to make pies with. They certainly don't look or taste anything like the home dried apples I've made in the past. I only bought these because I no longer have apple trees and I am getting a bit sick and tired of plums, plums and more plums. LOL!
     
  7. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    I agree that tomatoes are prime for botulism, but are you sure those other foods are botulism prone? Food poisoning isn't necessarily botulism as you know. Only about 15 people a year die from food born botulism despite all the home canners and dehydrators and smokers, etc. About that many die from getting botulism from the soil in a cut on their body. Most of those who get food-born botulism get it in a restaurant.

    If I was really worried about it, I'd either put it on sheets in the oven at 160 for 20-30 minutes, or cook it well before use. Sounds like they need drying and could use that oven time anyway. ??
     
  8. darkminstrel

    darkminstrel PDX Well-Known Member

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    I dry my apples to the point that they're as crisp as a corn chip. I also make certain to slice them incredibly thin since I don't have, in my opinion, the proper equipment or even desire to dry as per industry standard; food grade sulfurs as a preservative. I rely on low moisture and O2 absorbers. I also have a control from each batch that I put in a clear vac-bag and leave on the top of the mylar bags placed in the buckets. Can see molds forming through the clear bag that can give a hint as to what's going on in the mylar. Not great methodology but better than getting a face full of spores when I open an opaque bag.
     
  9. Smiddy

    Smiddy Hillsboro, OR Active Member

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    Old thread but I just happened to be studying up on botulism and stumbled on it...I had packed 5 gallons of brown sugar before I realized that it wont store long term. Oops, now I have 35 lbs of brown sugar to unload.

    MSneuropi - what the heck do you eat for the other 6 months of the year we don't have fresh fruits and vegetables??? I'm all for "buy America" but lets not be dogmatist about it. Thank god for commerce because we'd still be eating canned fruits a veggies most of the year.
     
  10. knuckle Head

    knuckle Head southeast Well-Known Member

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    I have dried both tomatoes and apples on my food dehydrator, vacuum sealed them and ate them 8 months or even 1 1/2 years later no problems here, the tomatoes tasted like sun dried tomatoes and the apples were a very tastey treat while backpacking,
     
  11. receo

    receo Sandy, Oregon Active Member

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    Lds apples are bone dry and they do come with o2 observers.