Dried apples are a very healthy and low-fat treat. And drying them yourself is a fun fall activity!
We purchased several bushels of apples this year and decided we’d like to preserve some by drying.
How to Make Dried Apples
1. Wash apples. No need to peel them. Leaving on the peel adds a little flavor to the dried apples AND increases the fiber content making them good for weight loss.
2. Remove the core and cut into thin slices.
We cored and cut our apples using our apple peeler/slicer (without the peeling blade engaged). It’s super fast and very easy to use. You can make a bunch of apple rings in just minutes!
Our apple peeler/slicer attaches to the edge of the counter, but you can get an apple peeler/slicer with a suction base to attach to the top of the counter if you don’t have an edge to attach to.
If you don’t have an apple slicer, you can slice them with a knife.
3. Dip apples in a solution to prevent them from turning brown.
We dip ours in a mixture of lemon juice, pineapple juice, and water. (I like how the pineapple juice adds a bit of sweetness to counteract the sour taste of the lemon juice.) You can also use orange juice or a solution made from 2 tablespoons of ascorbic acid and 1 cup water.
4. Place them single layer on whatever you are going to use to dry them on.
We use a screen from a retired food dehydrator. You can use a new, clean window screen or an oven rack covered with cheesecloth. Or if you’re drying your apples in a food dehydrator, place them on the racks of the dehydrator.
Drying Apples using an Oven, a Food Dehydrator, a Wood Stove, or in the Sun
There are several ways to actually dry the apples. A dehydrator is probably the most common method, but since we think wood stove-dried apples are best, we usually dry them over the wood stove (more on this below).
Drying Apples in a Food Dehydrator
This is a good method for dehydrating food. An electric food dehydrator is simple to use and energy efficient.
Drying Apples in an Oven
You can also dry apples in your oven if your oven can get the temperature down to 145 degrees Fahrenheit. (Some ovens will only go as low as 200 degrees.) You’ll need to keep the oven door open slightly to allow the moist air to escape. Positioning a fan by the door to keep air circulating is helpful too.
Drying Apples in the Sun
This is rather difficult because you need lots of sun, plenty of heat, and low humidity. Besides drying blueberries in the back window of my car once – which actually worked great! – I have no experience with this, so if you are thinking about sun drying you may want to do a little research first.
Drying Apples over a Wood Stove
Our favorite method for drying apples is over our wood stove because we love how the apples turn out crispier and whiter than apples dried in a food dehydrator. They also dry more quickly.
There are many ways to suspend the drying rack (I use the rack from my oven) over the stove.
You can place four tin cups (or other objects that won’t be damaged by heat) on the four corners of the stove and place your drying rack on top of them.
Or you can hang four strands of wire from four ceiling hooks and attach the wire to the drying rack.
Or, if you can keep your stove at a low temperature, you can place the racks directly on your wood stove.
We place our dehydrator screen on top of the rack.
If your wood stove has hot spots, be sure to rotate the rack or screen occasionally for even drying.
How Long Does It Take to Dry Apples?
The drying time will vary depending on which method you use, the moisture content of the apples, and how thick the apple slices are.
Drying apples in a food dehydrator takes between 12 and 24 hours.
Drying apples in the oven takes between 10 and 20 hours. The higher the heat, the quicker they will dry; but you’ll need to watch them closely and turn the slices often if your heat is higher than 145 degrees.
Drying apples over a wood stove takes about 8 to 14 hours.
How to Know When Dried Apples are Done
Your apples are sufficiently dried when they feel leathery and very dry … almost crisp, but not quite. If you like your dried apples to be crispy, you can dry them a little longer.
How to Store Your Dried Apples
Allow apples to cool completely. Place your dried apple slices in a plastic Ziploc bag, seal well, and store in a cool, dry place. Or you can put them in this delicious Apple Walnut Granola. Or add some flavor and sweetness to Overnight Hot Cereal or Cranberry Oatmeal.
How Long Will Dried Apples Keep?
If sealed well and stored in a cool, dry place, dried apples should keep for about 6 months. For longer storage, keep in the freezer.
How Many Dried Apples Will I Get From Fresh Apples?
The yield varies considerably depending upon the moisture content of the apples. Different varieties of apples have different moisture levels. That said, you should get somewhere around 2 cups of dried apples for every 5 pounds of fresh.
Which Apple Varieties Work Best for Drying?
Gala apples work great for dehydrating, as do Fujis. I also like dried Golden Delicious apples. Have you tried a variety that you especially like dried?
- solution to prevent browning (I use a mixture of lemon juice and pineapple juice)
- Cut apples into thin slices.
- Dip in solution.
- Distribute single layer on drying rack.
- Dry until apples are leathery, very dry, and almost crispy.
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