Dried Apple Rings

IMG_0006Full disclosure:  I really want a dehydrator.  Like… I REALLY want one badly.  I love the idea of preserving the goodness of our local foods, and dehydrating is a great way to retain both the flavour and the nutritional quality of produce.  I may not have fancy clothes, but a girl has retail priorities.  My own lie more in the kitchen small appliance aisle.  My justification is that it can only be a benefit for my kids to have fun in the kitchen with these nifty gadgets, turning out healthy and delicious food in the process.  Watching our juicer whip through a bunch of beets is always amazing, and it is this amazement that I hinge all gadget purchases on, right or wrong.

While I don’t have a dehydrator, I will use my trusty oven set on its lowest setting: 170, with the door propped open with a wooden spoon.  It works just fine, and doesn’t take up extra room in my cupboards.

Apple season is in full swing here in Ontario, and I thought it would be fun to make some dried apple rings for snacks and lunch box additions.

IMG_0008This is pretty simple.  I used a mandolin set to 1/4″ thickness for uniform slices.  If you don’t have a mandolin, just use a knife.  I did half of the apples peeled and half unpeeled.  Both were really good, but the peeled version were preferred by my kids.

Ingredients: Apples – cored, peeled (optional) and sliced thinly

Method: Once the apples are cored and sliced you are basically ready to start dehydrating.  If you want to minimize browning: Fill a bowl with 4c of water and 1/4c of lemon juice; dunk the slices in the solution, and lie them out on a clean kitchen towel to dry them.

IMG_0010 Using kitchen racks, lie out the slices in a single layer and put them in the oven set to 170.  Use a wooden spoon to keep the oven slightly open to let moisture escape. Keep an eye on the apples.

Mine took about 1.5 hours to become sufficiently dry.  It really depends on how dry you want them.  Leaving them in a little longer can result in a crispy apple slice, which is really nice too.  If you are making a large batch that you intend to store for a while, ensure that the moisture is gone by ripping a slice of apple – it should be dense and spongy.  These are so tasty that they may not last as long as you think they will!

IMG_1007Keeping the apples: Once completely cool the apple slices can be kept in plastic Ziplocs for 6 months or so.

These are great for those times that you want to grab a healthy snack on the go.  Dried apples reconstitute nicely in a bowl of hot oatmeal, and can be chopped and added to home-made granola or trail mix.

This is an easy and fun project to make the most of the beautiful apple bounty.  If you have kids at home, they can participate in the process (though keep the slicing job for the adults!) and they will have fun eating their delicious creations.