How to Dry Apples
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”
You didn’t really think we’d get through this seasonal celebration of the glorious apple without rolling out that old chestnut, did you?
Still, our old pal Benjamin Franklin may have been onto something.
Low in calories, high in fiber and packed full of vitamins like A, B6, C, E and potassium, apples can be a positive contributor toward weight loss, heart and bone health, and can be a powerful weapon in combating cancer, diabetes, asthma and even Alzheimer’s disease.
When apples are in season and the pickings are plentiful, all that nutrition can be easily packed away for a rainy day (or tucked into your pocket) through the magic of dehydration.
Dried apples are the anchor ingredient in many a trail mix, can be added to yogurt or cereal, and are a flavor powerhouse baked into muffins or cakes. Requiring no special packaging or refrigeration, they do quite well all by themselves as a nutritious alternative to cookies or candy packed into school lunches or as a “grab and go” snack.
While a dehydrator will do the job nicely, of course, no special equipment is necessary to dry apples at home. With barely more than a sharp knife and a warm oven, this sweet, portable treat can be prepared in any kitchen. And doing it yourself handily sidesteps any additives that may be found in prepackaged alternatives.
What kind to use
Select apples that are ripe, but still firm. Pick your favorites and the taste will carry through. For a sweeter snack, a Gala or Fuji will fit the bill nicely. Four medium apples equal about one cup when dried.
May be dried with or without the skin. Wash or peel the apple and remove the core. Cut into thin wedges or crosswise for apple rings.
One the apples have been sliced, dip into a solution of water and lemon of about ¼ cup of lemon juice per quart of water. This will reduce browning during the drying process.
Spread the apples out on cake racks so they are not touching. Place the racks on top of baking trays and place in an oven set to 150 degrees (or its lowest setting).
Dry time will be approximately 10-12 hours, but may vary. Apples are ready when leathery and dry to the touch, but still flexible. Apples that have not reached this state will not keep reliably when stored.
Pack into ziploc bags or any airtight container. May be stored up to a year without significant loss of flavor.