Apples are a great, natural, healthy snack.  They can be sweet, tart, sweet and tart, dry, juicy and crisp.  Apples are just plain tasty.  The only problem is here in Texas they just don't store very well.

 

The best way to store apples for long term here in Texas is to dehydrate them.  While that may sound like a problem it really isn't, and besides, dehydrating makes already delicious apples even better because it concentrates the flavor and compacts it into a much smaller end product.  Where I might need almost a full shelf in a cabinet to store 8 or 10 pounds of apples, by dehydrating them I can store them in a couple of neat little jars in my cabinet where they are easily accessible by the entire family and are 'snack-ready'.

There are two schools of thought when it comes to dehydrating fruits and vegetables.  The first is to add a preservative so as to keep the color bright and viberant.  The second is to omit the preservative even though the drying process may change the color of the food being preserved. 

I decided to do it both ways for this article and let you decide which method you prefer.  I personally do not use preservatives simply because the color changes in the fruit or veggies just doesn't bother me. 

Here is what you will need -

  • A dehydrator or another method of dehydrating - I use an Excalibur 9-tray food dehydrator
  • Apples - I used organic granny smith because that was what was on sale
  • Peeler/corer or a paring knife
  • Two quarts cold water
  • A bowl that will hold 2 quarts of water plus your apples
  • If you want to use the preservative method, you will also need:
    • Fruit Fresh (or citric acid, I used Fruit Fresh)
    • A clean, dry towel to dry apples after rinsing off the Fruit Fresh

Okay let's get this easy process started.

1.  Wash and pat dry your apples

2.  check your apples for any bad spots and remove them.

3.  If you are using Fruit Fresh or Citric Acid, prepare it in your bowl:  2 Tbsp Fruit Fresh to 2 quarts of cold water (or 2 tsp citric acid to 2 quarts cold water), mix it a bit to  help it desolve. (Note: Non-bleached water is recommended).

4.  Peel and core your apples (Don't throw those peels and cores away, we have another recipe that will use them)

5. Slice apples 1/8 - 1/4 inch thick. 

 

5.  If using the Fruit Fresh mixture then place your apple slices into the mixture.

5. If you are not using the Fruit Fresh then there is no rush becuase a few minutes won't make a difference.

***Skip steps 6 and 7 if no preservative used

6. Once all your apple slices have been placed in the the Fruit Fresh you will need to rinse them in cold water.

7.  Once all the apple slices are rinsed place them on your clean, dry towel and pat them dry

8.  Place your apple slices on your dehydrator trays and leave enough room around each apple slice for air to circulate.

9.  Place your trays in your dehydrator and set the dehydrator to 135 degrees

10. Depending on your dehydrator you may need to rotate your trays every hour or so to ensure even drying. 

11.  Depending on the humidity and how thick you sliced your apples it could take anywhere from 4 hours to 12 hours for your apples to dry.  Drying time will also vary depending on your dehydrator and the ability to set it's temperature.

When done the apples should be leathery to the touch but not brittle.  If you break one and there is any moisture inside it is not done. 

The apples washed in Fruit Fresh will be several shades lighter than the apples not treated.  The flavor?  Well there really isn't any taste difference between those washed with Fruit Fresh or not.  It is simply a matter of if you like your apples light or slightly tanned.

****Picture above depicts dried apples not washed with Fruit Fresh.

The wonderful thing about dehydrated apples - other then eating them - is that you can take 8 pounds of apples and dehydrate them to make them fit in two quart jars.  Now you have to admit that is pretty awesome!

And remember -

Live, Love, Laugh, Learn....homestead.

 

Want to dehydrate 9 trays of fruits, vegetables, meats and more all at the same time just like Christine does? Go to Excalibur and get your very own Excalibur Dehydrator now.