Drying apple slices in the oven or in a dehydrator, like all dried fruit, are sweeter and provide more concentrated flavor. They make a tasty snack. Pioneer Dad’s kids (and the neighbor kids) eat them by the tray full as quickly as they come out of the dehydrator.
Dried apple slices are easy to carry when hiking, cycling just about any outdoor activity. They are a perfect take along food.
The drying process is simple: wash the apple, slice the apple, place the apple on a tray, place the tray in an oven or dehydrator and when dry remove the apple and store. Not a lot of mystery to this process.
Drying apples at home is more economical compared to commercially dried fruit. And, home dried fruit is more nutritious because it is prepared at lower temperatures than commercially dried fruit. The USDA estimates cooking at high temperatures destroys nearly 65% of original food value. Canned or cooked food retains only about 35% of its original vitamin C content.
Here’s how to dry apples in an oven
1. Position the racks in the upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 140° to 150° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Combine 4 cups water and 1/2 cup lemon juice in a medium bowl to prevent browning.
3. Cut 2 large apples into ¼-inch slices. Use a sharp knife or a mandolin slicer. Core the slices. Soak the slices in the lemon water for 30 minutes. Drain and pat dry with paper towels. Place apple slices on the baking sheets in a single layer. Arrange so the slices are not touching.
4. Bake the slices on the upper and lower racks for 1 hour. Leave the oven door open 2-inches to help moisture escape. Remove and turn each slice over. Return the pans to the oven. Bake 1 more hour for soft dried apples or about 2 more hours for crispy apple chips. Turn off the oven, crack the door and leave the apples in the oven until the oven cools completely, which will take 1 to 2 hours. Store in airtight bags for up to 1 week or refrigerate for up to 1 month.
Makes: about 2-dozen apple slices or chips.
Here’s how to dry apples in a dehydrator
1. Combine 4 cups water and 1/2 cup lemon juice in a medium bowl to prevent browning.
2. Cut 2 large apples into ¼-inch slices. Use a sharp knife or a mandolin. Core the slices. Soak the slices in the lemon water for 30 minutes. Drain and pat dry with paper towels.
3. Preheat the dehydrator to 145°F. Place apple slices, in a single layer, on the dryer trays. Arrange so the slices are not touching and place the trays into the dehydrator.
After one hour reduce temperature to 135 to 140°F to finish drying the slices. If the fruit is dried at too high a temperature the outer surface will harden preventing moisture from escaping from the center of the slice. Dry for 6 to 12 hours.
4. Test for dryness by removing a few slices from the dryer and wait until cool. Apples slices are dry when they are pliable and no beads of moisture form when pressed between your fingers.
5. Pack the cooled slices loosely into an airtight glass or plastic container for several days to distribute any remaining moisture evenly. If any condensation forms inside the container, the fruit is not adequately dry. Place the slices back into the dehydrator and continue drying.
6. Store in airtight bags for up to 1 week or refrigerate for up to 1 month.