Make Dehydrated Apples--Plain and Cinnamon! (Super Healthy, Super Fun, Super EASY!)
My grand daughter recently came for a visit, and she needed a snack, like right away! :-) I hadn't had time to run to the grocery store for her "kid" foods, so I brought down a jar of the dehydrated apple slices from last Fall. I could not believe how she loved them! These were her very favorite snack to eat the whole time she was with me this summer!
Fall will be here before we know it! And with Fall comes LOTS of apples! In fact, the early varieties are ripening right now! We have a tree that is just dripping with apples, and I can hardly wait til they are ready for picking!
But like many harvests, these ready fruits and vegetables come in waves, right? If you are like me, it's feast or famine as things ripen, and apples are no exception! Drying (dehydrating) is a great way to use up all those extra apples this late Summer and Fall!
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Things You Need to Make Dehydrated Apples
1. You'll need apples
2. A solution to keep the apples from browning. I use a solution of 1 tbsp. lemon juice to 1 cup of water. OR about 1/2 cup lemon juice to 4 cups of water.
Another option, depending on where you live, is solar. See more below.
4. You might want to use a peeler/slicer/corer gadget
How to Make Dried Apples--Cinnamon and Plain!
I love my Excalibur dehydrator! It makes this snack creation so easy. When I first starting drying my apples, I just used an oven. That's just fine. But with the dehydrator, you can almost set it and forget it! :-)
First, you'll need to slice and core your apples. You can peel them if you want. Leaving the peelings looks pretty and also adds fiber to the dried apples. However, some people prefer them to be left off. ALSO, if the apples are not organic, I would ABSOLUTELY peel them. The thinner they are sliced, the more quickly they will dry.
I use an apple-peeler-corer-slicer to quickly cut nice thin, perfect slices of apples! I love mine, and this is the fastest way I have found to slice/core/peel apples for pies, canning, or dehydrating!
You need to place a solution on your apples to keep them from going brown (oxidation). I just use a solution of approximately 1 tbsp lemon juice to 1 cup of water or for a larger amount about 1/2 cup lemon juice to 4 cups of water. I just eyeball it, but you can measure if you want. I let the apple slices soak while I'm peeling more. As the bowl fills, I shake them off a bit, then place them on the dehydrator sheet.
NOTE: If you don't have lemon juice, you can also use citric acid if you have it on hand. There are other ways to make solutions that cause apples to not brown. These include salt and water, orange juice and water, etc. I haven't tried these methods, because lemon juice has always worked great for me, and I always have it on hand.
Now lay out the apples in a single layer on your dehydrator tray. If you are using the oven then using two cookie sheets, lay out some parchment paper on top, then place the apples in a single layer.
I better mention how to make the cinnamon apples real quick. Once finished in the browning solution, I just place them in a ziplock bag with a bit of cinnamon to your taste. Shake around a bit, and you have cinnamon-covered apples ready to dry!
Step 5: Now, to Begin Drying:
Using a dehydrator:
Set the temperature to the "fruit" setting, which is 135 degrees. I generally set the timer for about 8 hours, then begin checking every hour or so if they are not done at that point, just resetting the timer again.
A quick note about dehydrators: I've tried a few over the years, and my very favorite is the one shown in the picture above. It's an Excalibur Dehydrator with nine trays. It works like a charm, has many settings, even for jerkeys. I love it!
Using an oven:
This method is more hands-on, but still doable. Set your oven to its lowest setting (most ovens' lowest setting is 200 degrees). Then allow to dry for about an hour. Turn the apples over, then allow to continue drying for another two hours or so. Start checking every 30 minutes or so at that point until you feel they are completely dried.
Using the sun:
If you happen to live in a hot dry area (like Las Vegas, NV), you can actually dry thinly sliced apples in the sun. Just cover them with a few layers of cheesecloth or cotton cloth to keep the bugs off. If you know anything about the desert, the temps often get above 110 degrees with very little humidity. This is an economical option if you live in an area like this. HOWEVER: If you have high humidity, I'd not choose this method---mold can form or bacteria can take hold before the drying process is complete.
One of my neighbors made a dehydrator himself that allows the surrounding air to circulate through, with no added heat. Even up here in the mountains, where it's a bit cooler than down in the valley, he is able to do a great job dehydrating his extra veggies/fruits! It's truly off-the-grid! I'll see if I can get him to tell me his steps and share that with you all!
Once the apples are dried to your satisfaction, just store them in a Mason jar with an oxygen eater/absorber. You can just place one of these in your Mason jar of dried apples, and the oxygen will be quickly absorbed, keeping your apple delights perfect!
Note: Be sure they are truly completely dried before storing them. Otherwise, you may experience some gross mold!
Final Thoughts on Dehydrating Apples for Snacks & Cooking
I love apples, and especially dried apples! They are the best snacks for kids and adults, in my opinion! Healthy, tasty, and easy to pack around! Guess what?! They are great for adding to baked dishes, cookies, or oatmeal, too!
Do you have a favorite fruit or vegetable to dehydrate? We'd love to hear from you! Your ideas are so very welcome in the comments!
And, here are some other articles you might be interested in too:
- How to Make Fruit Leather from Apple Sauce
- How to Clean Up Your Diet: 9 Food Categories with Bad to Best Options
- Preserving Peppers: My Three Favorite Methods (And Canning is NOT One of Them)
There's lots more on the blog, too! :-)
Hugs, Health, & Self-Reliance,
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