Dehydrated apples

This time of year I go a bit nuts with making things; Baking cookies, making meals to freeze, dehydrating fruits and berries, and even making Christmas gifts.  My will to keep making seems to run strong until well after the first of the year.  Of course my making seems to save us a ton of money in the long run though, and it helps use up most of the items in the fridge or cabinet before they expire too.  One of the main things I love making is dehydrated apples.  

The great thing about Oregon is that apples come into season in late July and stay in season until late November, so for a good four months apples are a great go-to snack in our house.  When fall rolls around, I love dehydrating what's left in order to eat clear through the winter months.  We actually got lucky with our son, in the fact that he would rather have a bowl of dehydrated apples, or berries over candy.  And they are a great snack with those sugar cravings hit!

Here is a simple, yet delicious dehydrated apples recipe that can be used on all varieties of apples.  

Start with good quality apples.  I like to use Fuji apples, or Granny Smith, but any variety can be used depending on your taste.  Red Delicious I have found does brown a lot when they are dehydrated, and don't seem to hold their taste once dried, but other varieties work great!  For this recipe we used all Fuji apples.

Once the apples are gathered, they need to be washed well.  I peel the skin off of the apples, but you can leave it on.  I have found that the skin isn't all that tasty and loses a lot of its appeal once dried though.

To wash the apples and remove the food-grade wax completely, combine one part baking soda to one part lemon juice.  Depending on how many apples you have.  I can clean about eight apples with a 1 tbs. to 1 tbs. mixture.  Just fill your kitchen sink with about one gallon of warm water, add in your baking soda, and lemon juice.  Allow the apples to sit for about 20 minutes, then use a small vegetable brush, or nail brush (that's used for only food) and brush the apples well.  Rinse the apples in warm water to remove any wax sitting on the surface.  The water in your sink should be a nice, waxy, gross color now.  Blah!

Once your apples are rinsed it's time to gather the rest of your supplies.  For one, you will need an apple corer.  I use a manual, hand corer, but I have my heart set on this one here.  You will also need a food peeler, a measuring cup, a medium-sized bowl, one-quart of lemon juice, one-quart of water, a knife, a cutting board, and a food dehydrator.  (If you don't own a food dehydrator, you can do the dehydrating in your oven)  

Although the manual corer works very well, it would be nice to have one that did the entire motion with just a crank of the hand.  The manual corer pictured here is Progressive brand and comes with a plunger to help remove the core bits after they are gathered.  You can pick one up for under $6 here.

We cored about 24 apples.  Skylar helped by popping out the core and handing me the apples to peel.  It was great teamwork.

Then peeled them, which took about 45 minutes.  So as you can see the automatic one would be nice.  

The apple peels are going to a nice addition to my compost pile.

Once the apples are cored and peeled, add one quart of lemon juice and one quart of water to a large bowl or pitcher.  Place the apples into the mixture to sit for about five minutes before cutting.

Next, slice the apples into rings and place back into the lemon/water mixture for another five minutes.

Place the apple rings in your dehydrator in a single layer and dehydrate on 135 degrees for six to eight hours.  I use a Nesco dehydrator and it takes about six hours to get the apples rings to where we like them. 

After dehydrating I immediately place them in Ball jars with tight-fitting lids and store in our cold storage (not the refrigerator).  A cold storage can be anything from a room under your home to your garage.  If it stays cold throughout the winter months, then use it to your advantage.  

You can even jar these up, place a nice tag on them, and give them as gifts this year.  Or just eat them right out of the jar!

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