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Dehydrating Apples

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This year my husband and I received an amazing gift from Mother Nature. Christmas morning we woke up to the most enchanting snowfall ever.  It was a true Norman Rockwell scene if I had ever saw one.  The sky was white, the land was white, the trees where white, the deck was white… everything was blanked in snow.  And it was still coming down in large, fat, lazy flakes.

We had our morning snuggle, sipping our coffees as we enjoyed the beauty of the Christmas tree and the sounds of soft Christmas music.  We sat there all snuggled up,  watching the snow build a wall on our deck railing, layer by layer by layer.

Obviously it was perfect day for… snowshoeing.  The only thing was neither one of us had ever tried it before. Shame on me… 28 years in Alaska should have given me some experience,  but no.

Don’t get me wrong though, we tried. One year in Alaska, Bob and I decided it was high time to take up some winter sports.  We were tired of sitting inside, watching the moose play in the snow… we wanted to play as well!  Bob had owned a pair of snow shoes from the past so we went on the hunt for a pair for me.  Craigslist!  We found an amazing pair of racing snowshoes of all things.   So, we met the seller at a cafe and did the exchange in the parking lot and then made our way home.  The sky was already turning dark at 3:00 pm so we decided to wait till the following day to start our adventures.

dehydrating-apples88The next day we woke up to a bone chilling, unfit-for-human-survival temperature of -30 (F)!  Uff-da!  It was far to cold to go “play” in the snow.  With our heads hung low we decided to wait for the next day.

Day after day… -30 (F) weather enveloped our house, even causing the structure to moan and shiver.  The days passed, the weeks passed, finally after two weeks of such cold weather, it broke!

We had been watching the news and we were delighted to see that the temperatures where going to let up and we would soon be out snowshoeing!  The next day, it started to snow (wheee), then it turned in to rain (doh!) and the temperature warmed up to near 40 degrees (whoa!!!)  Now the rain kept us in the house.

The following morning I ran to the front picture window, like a child scurrying to see if there were reindeer on the roof,  the burning question… Can we go snowshoeing today?   I looked out the window and believe it or not…. ALL the snow had melted!!  From tons of snow, to 30 below, to 40 above, to snow, to rain, and then to nothing!  All in 16 days.  lol  Needless to say we never got to go snowshoeing that year.  That is until yesterday and it was wonderful!

In the midst of our pear orchard we found a new discovery… this is that gift that I spoke of earlier… we found one apple tree.  Not a leaf to be found yet it was loaded with at least 100 apples.  Apples that were as crisp, and sweet as can be and so juicy!  Though we still don’t have any idea as to what kind they are.  What a blessing!  We picked roughly 30 lbs of apples.  And this little discovery is what prompted this post on dehydrating apples.

dehydrating-apples1Ingredients:

  • Organic apples  ~  For good drying apples, look for firm apples with deep coloring and, if you’re choosing yellow or green apples, a slight blush.
    • Red and Golden Delicious are the sweetest
    • Pippin and Granny Smith are the most tart
    • The best apple varieties for drying are the autumn and winter varieties like Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Fuji and Rome Beauty.

Preparation:

Slicing the apples:

  1. Wash and dry the apples.
  2. Remove the core.  Peel or not.  Your choice.
  3. I used a mandolin and  sliced the apples 3-7 mm thick.  Cutting them the same thickness will ensure that they will all dehydrate evenly.  If you don’t have a mandolin, use a sharp knife and do your best to cut them evenly.

Drying the apples:

  1. Sun Drying ~
    • This method takes 3-4 hot days (98-100%F).
    • Be sure to cover the apples with a screen to keep insects away.
    • Bring in or cover at night to keep moisture from collecting.
    • To “pasteurize” sun-dried fruit in order to prevent contamination from insects, freeze for 28-72 hours.
  2. Oven Drying ~
    • This is the fastest method and can be used if you don’t have a dehydrator.  I don’t recommend this method because you will lose more of the nutrients, but start where you can.
    • Set the temperature to 140 degrees maximum, leave the door ajar; place a fan so it blows across the opening of the oven opening to carry the moisture away.
    • Length of time will very (10-20 hours) depending on how chewy or crisp you want them to be.
  3. Dehydrator ~
    • Arrange apples on the mesh dehydrator trays.
    • Place them close together but do not allow them to touch each other.
    • Dehydrate at 145 degrees (F) for 1 hour, then decrease to 115 degrees for 16+/- hours.
    • Te dry time will depend on your machine, the amount of moisture in the apple and as to how dry or moist that you want them to remain.  If you want to pull all of the moisture out of the apple slices but you are not sure if you have, put the apples into a plastic bag, box or glass jar right away while warm, and if condensation forms on the inside, you need to dry them out a bit more.
    • Allow them to cool to room temperature and store in airtight containers.
    • These will keep up to 3 months in the pantry and longer in the fridge.

Sous Chef Ideas:

  • To prevent discoloration by oxidation, to have a more pliable texture, and to help retain vitamin A and C,  you can do a lemon soak.  Use one cup of lemon juice to one quart of water.  Soak the apples for no more than 10 minutes.  Drain and dehydrate. This won’t affect the flavor.
  • Sprinkle salt on top as you put them in the dehydrator.  Sweet and salty is a great combination.  This will be especially good with Granny Smith apples.
  • Dust with cinnamon before dehydrating for added flavor.
  • The thinner you slice the apples, the crispier they will get.
  • Peelings may be left on, however they tend to toughen a little during dehydration.  The peeling also causes the rings to curl a bit.
Round 1 of apple rings:
Stats:  7 lbs of apples = 20 apples = cut at 3mm thickness = 9 full Excalibur trays
Dried: 11 oz weight
dehydrating-apples-3mm

 

After slicing apple ring after apple ring… I decided to break the monotony and pull out the cookie cutters.
I mean, look at those ADORABLE  apple mittens!!!

 

dehydrating-apples-mittens

 

With the left over apple bits, I chopped them up to make dried apple bits.
I do this whenever I dry apples because these are perfect to
add into trail mixes, granolas or to sprinkle on your morning porridge.

dehdyrating-apples-bits
dehydrating-apples-77

 

 Round 2 of apple rings

Stats:  6 lbs of apples = 19 apples = cut at 7 mm thickness = 4 full Excalibur trays
Dried: 10 oz weight

 

dehydrating-apples-7mm

 

Below is the end result of the 7 mm sliced apple rings.
A bit chewier but not to different from the 3 mm slices.

 

dried-apples1

 

Round 3 Apple Sticks
Stats:  2 lbs 14 oz of apples = 8 apples = cut at 7 mm match stick thickness = 4 full Excalibur trays
Dried: 5 oz weight

 

dehdyrating-apples-matchsticks

 

dried-apples2

 

Shew, we made it!  That wasn’t so hard so was it?  But because every good job deserves a reward, make yourself a cup of…
Apple Crisp Tea
  • Simmer 12 dried apple slices, one cinnamon stick, and a 2-inch strip of lemon peel in four cups of water for 30 minutes.
  • Strain into three cups and sweeten. Put a slice or two of apple into each cup for visual interest.
Fine Print:
As you read through all the stats of the different experiments with drying the apples, please +/- a few ounces here and there.  I had a stealth ninja dude (I won’t point AT him but his name is Bob!) who kept snagging a small handful as he walked by my trays that I had set out to cool before storing.
I didn’t have this experiment preplanned so please take the information that I have given you as a guideline, as a roundabout idea.  :)  There are so many other ideas to explore, but I ran out of apples.  Our Christmas gift from Mother Nature did however provide us with some amazing raw treats that we can enjoy over the next few months (if they last that long).

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15 thoughts on “Dehydrating Apples

  1. Ruth says:

    Oh I do so like your ideas :) Never thought to do the bits before. Mind you I did eat the bits fresh! Must try this next time I dehydrate my fruit! Thanks Amie!

    • amie-sue says:

      Good morning Ruth… the size of the dehydrated bits are nice to put in trail mixes, granolas or top cereals with because they are tiny pieces and not touch to chew. Have a blessed day! amie sue

  2. Grace says:

    Wow!!! Those apples look good! I wish I had apple trees!

  3. Jessica says:

    Hi Amie I would like to share this on my blog. I am a new mom that has been fighting hard to continue breastfeeding. My little 4 month old has been intolerant to many foods so I started a blog to share recipes and fun food options for other mom’s who have to go dairy, egg, soy, corn and nut free for the first time. Thank you for sharing. Please pass along my blog if you know others it could benefit.

    http://mommyeatsandtreats@wordpress.com/

    • amie-sue says:

      You bet Jessica… just link back to my site if you would. I tried to view your site but I get a warning? Everything ok with it?

  4. Jessica says:

    I will definitely link it back to your site. Strange thank you for pointing that out. I guess I gave the wrong address. Please try http://mommyeatsandtreats.wordpress.com/ and let me know if there is any problem. Thank you.

    • amie-sue says:

      There we go Jessica… that link works. :) Thank you, can’t wait to browse through it. Have a wonderful day, amie sue

  5. Jessica says:

    Thank you! I am trying to keep up on it but it’s a bit hard with a new little one. Doing my best though. Thank you, you have a wonderful day as well.

    • amie-sue says:

      I understand Jessica… it takes a lot of work to keep blogs / sites up like this. I love the picture of your little one on your site… what a cutie! Have a wonderful weekend… amie sue

  6. Marlene says:

    Those apples looks great! I can’t believe you have apples on the trees in the winter! We have deer that eat all our apples before we get a chance to taste them. :(

    Some websites say to not to dehydrate higher than 105 degrees so it doesn’t kill any of the enzymes.

    • amie-sue says:

      Yes Marlene, you will see people saying to stay anywhere from k105-118 degrees to keep it raw. I am surprised too that the deer didn’t eat now that you say that. We have a family of 4 living in our orchards right now. :) Many blessings, amie sue

  7. Catharina van Dijk says:

    Hi, I love your web site but as I reside in sunny Australia we use metric measurements and wonder whether you could add these as many Europeans use this too

    • amie-sue says:

      Hello Catharina..

      I have had a couple of requests for this over the years and it is something I am considering. I just need to make the mind switch and change my processes. It’s not hard, just extra work for me since I am not in the habit of doing it. :) Have a wonderful weekend! amie sue

  8. Veronica says:

    Hi Amie-Sue and Catharina!

    I’m from Sweden and we use the European measure system too. My suggestion is to write a coversion list on a note and place it on the inside of a kitchen cabinet door. That way you will always have it easily accessible when you need it. :)

    • amie-sue says:

      Great idea Veronica. I have been trying to do offer both measurement systems in my recipes, but I haven’t been consistent… I need to create a habit in doing it. :) Have a great day, amie sue

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