Drying fruits and vegetables is a great way to preserve the fruit while keeping as many of the nutrients as possible. Plus, drying concentrates and intensifies the natural flavor of whatever is being dried. Since I had so many apples, I decided to dry some. Dried apples are sweet, chewy, and full of intense apple flavor. I like to chop them up and add them to salads, cereal, oats, trail mix, and yogurt. You could also add them to cakes, muffins, or cookies, and I think they’d be a fantastic addition to Thanksgiving turkey stuffing.
A Note on the Oven Temperature: Try to get your oven as close to 135F as possible. If the oven is too hot then moisture can leave the apples too quickly, and you’ll end up with apples that are dry outside but full of moisture inside. On the other hand, if the temperature isn’t hot enough, the apples could mold before they have a chance to dry.
How to Dehydrate Apples
Lemon juice (¼ c for every 1 c of water to soak the apples)
An oven that can be set between 135-180F
(1) Prep your supplies. Preheat the oven to as close to 135F as you can get it. Line your baking sheets with parchment paper. Prepare a large bowl with lemon water for soaking the apples by mixing ¼ c lemon juice for every 1 c of water.
(2) Prep the apples. Wash and peel the apples, then core them (an apple corer makes this an easy task). Remove any bad spots on the apples. Slice the apples as uniformly as possible into ¼ to ½-inch thick slices (if you’re more adept at it than I am, you can use a mandolin for this). Drop the apple slices into the lemon water as you go; let the apples soak in the lemon water for about 5 minutes after all the apples have been sliced.
(3) Get ready to bake the apples. Drain the apples and lightly pat them dry. Line them up in a single layer on the parchment paper, making sure that none overlap. You can sprinkle on a little sugar or stevia if you like.
(4) Bake the apples. The apples are done when most of the moisture is removed, yet they’re still pliable; the apples should feel dry to the touch, not sticky or wet. How long the apples need to bake depends on several factors, such as the type and ripeness of the apples you use, and how hot your oven is. My apples took around 10-14 hours.
(5) Condition the apples. This is necessary to equally distribute any remaining moisture in the apples, which in turn reduces the risk of mold. This can be done by placing the dried apples in a closed jar and leaving it on the countertop for 7-10 days; shake the jar once a day but do not open the jar until conditioning is done.