The Easiest Way to Dehydrate Fresh Apples and Make Dried Apple Chips10:07 AM
I loved eating apple chips as a kid, and it made me wonder how easy it would be to make dried apple chips. The chewy, crunchy snack is rather pricey at the grocery store, however, and with many people allowing their apples to fall -- and rot -- on the ground, it's easier than ever to scoop up a bushel of apples for free or cheap and make dried apple slices!
(Even the buggy apples from our tree -- shown below -- work well for this project. We had an issue with codling moths in our apples this year. Drying them is the best use we could think of, besides homemade applesauce.)
Doing so is easy, provided you have a food dehydrator. I currently have two, the Ronco 5-tray and the Weston 10-tray. Either will work, but I like my Weston because it holds much more and has various temperature settings so that I can use the one that works best with my fruit.
To prepare the apples, I simply use my peeler on the correct setting for the size of apple I'm using. Then I core and peel it on a cookie tray to keep the peels and all the juice from getting on the counter and my floor.
Once I have a fully peeled/cored apple, I cut out any buggy spots with a paring knife to prepare for drying apples in the dehydrator. If the apple manages to get through the peeler in one long curly peel (which is rare), I use the knife to make one cut from top to bottom, which will separate the long curl into multiple "circles."
These are then put into a large bowl of water and lemon juice. Recipes vary, but I've had good luck with 1 tablespoon juice to 1 cup of water. It takes about 5-6 cups of water to fill my bowl (and 5-6 tablespoons of lemon juice.)
When I'm done with a good sized batch of apples -- or my bowl gets too full -- I remove the apples from the water and lay them out on another tray lined with paper towels or a lint-free cloth towel (tea towels work very well).
After they have had a chance to drain, I put them directly into my food dehydrator until they are dried like a leather consistency. This takes many hours to dry apples with a dehydrator, depending on your model.
Immediately upon drying, they go into a mason jar, with a lid, and a desiccant packet. (I buy these online for .....). I also put a pretty label on them, like these chalkboard labels from Kidecals!
The apples will keep in a cool, dark place for up to a year, provided you keep the jar sealed. Once opened, you have a few weeks to eat them up! Drying the apples takes up far less room in a cramped pantry than canning, which is why we prefer to do this with much of our apple crop. I also find that using the dehydrator makes it so much easier than when you make dried apples in the oven.
Looking for the supplies I used in this tutorial? Find them here, via my referral links:
Back to Basics Apple Peeler/Corer
Kidecal Chalkboard Labels