Remember the four bushels of apples I bought back in November? Ah, yes–the apples. Well, in case you were wondering, I am STILL working on them. I preserved as many of them as I could–in the freezer for pie, and canned as apple sauce–until mid-December, and then I had to put them on hold so that I could work on Christmas presents and getting ready for the holidays. So now in January, I’ve been back at it. The apples have held up reasonably well, stored in our cool basement, though they’re definitely a bit soft. Thankfully, soft apples can be dehydrated with good success–apples that started out way less than perfect come out of the dehydrator in remarkably good form—and quite delicious. That’s one reason I love dehydrating as a preserving option–it’s remarkably forgiving. Of course, as I’ve said before, for the best quality, best tasting product, it’s preferable to preserve fruits and vegetables when they are at their freshest. No question about that. But it seems to me that most of us just don’t operate under optimal conditions most of the time. It would be lovely if we did, but there’s rarely enough time, and things are rarely perfect. So we do the best we can with what we have, right? In my mind, the same goes for preserving. It’s a continual challenge to my perfectionist bent, but amidst the demands of normal life, as long as the food is safe, functional, and tastes at least pretty good, I sometimes have to let that be enough.