Dehydrating apples is a great option for long-term storage if you don’t want can or freeze them. These chewy, sweet and nutritious finger foods make a great snack foods and keep perfectly well in your child’s backpack or a desk drawer for weeks!
Last autumn, I didn’t get around to dehydrating apples, so it has been in the back of my mind to make some chewy fruit snacks this year. Our favorite is the sweet-tart dried apple chip!
Properly dehydrating apples at a low temperature preserves maximum nutritional density and natural live enzymes. You can use organic apples picked seasonally and locally at their peak of ripeness. The internal temperature of the fruit stays below 115F which maintains active enzymes! (source) This cannot be achieved in the higher temp oven.
Some fruits (apples, pears, bananas, and peaches) need to be pretreated before dehydrating in order to make them taste better, look better, or last longer. That pretty white flesh will turn brown in a hurry if you skip this step. Your fruit will simply look unappetizing.
I’ve used is pure ascorbic acid (buffered Vitamin C) with good success. It is almost (but not quite) the same as the sodium ascorbate Vitamin C Suzanne Humphries recommends for successful treatment of whooping cough in babies!
1. Prevent Oxidation
I use 1/2 tsp. ascorbic acid powder per quart of water. Another option is lemon or lime juice in a 1:4 ratio…(1/4 c. juice to 1 c. water).
Doing smaller batches of 5-6 apples each, you can reuse the acidic water bath many times.
For sectioning apples, cut into 16 wedges (or 4 per quarter).
You can be less wasteful if you cut out the little semi-circular core with a knife instead of using a regular apple corer.
I chose to leave the skins on after washing them well because:
- they were organic
- it provides more fiber for the gut (the skin is not at all tough)
- they are so much more colorful.
- it saves oodles of time
My friend Jennifer just did her apples and recommended organic apples from Azure Standard. She got a 20 lb. box for about $18.00-$20.00 depending on the variety…priced less than conventional produce!! I’m looking into this now.
OK, I got side-tracked:
2. Remove Excess Liquid
Quickly blot dry your pre-treated apples with paper towels before putting them on the racks.
3. Load your dehydrator (see oven method below)
I got the equivalent of 5 apples per tray. I have held onto my very old dehydrator because of the stainless steel racks. I am glad I did!
There are still models with stainless racks which have the advantage of not having your food on heated plastic.
Drying Time for Dehydrating Apples
Fruit dehydrates at 105-110 degrees to preserve enzymes and nutrients. See chart for drying times. Apples take 6-12 hours, so test them!
The resulting chip is very flavorful, and you could never eat just one. The fabulous fall apple aroma permeates your home for weeks!
Dehydrated apples are naturally sweet and are a great substitute for candy or unhealthy snacks.
One thing I really like is that little ones won’t get sticky hands!
Dehydrated apples provide fiber, pectin, potassium, Vitamin C, and some iron.
The perfectly dried chip should be flexible and not break. All the natural essential oils and nutritional goodness is locked inside.
UC Davis states to store in a cool, dark place in glass or Ziplock bags removing as much air as possible. The dehydrated apple’s nutritive value will start to decrease after a year.
Dehydrating Apples in the Oven
- Turn the oven to its lowest setting, which is usually between 140 F and 170 F.
- Prop the door of the oven open with the handle of a wooden spoon (this isn’t necessary if you are using a convection oven in which case they will be ready on less time).
- Put the baking sheets with the apples (on parchment) in the oven. Let the apples dry until they are leathery, which can take anywhere from 6 to 10 hours.
- Check on them once your home begins to smell heavenly!
- If your oven is hotter in some spots than others, turn the baking sheets around occasionally so that the pieces dry evenly.
You won’t be completely sure if the apple pieces are fully dehydrated until they have cooled. (You know how cookies crisp up after you take them out of the oven? The same happens with dried fruit.)
This is raw food in a highly storable form when done correctly.
Experiment and enjoy the fruit of your labor with your family…laugh, sing, and praise God for His wonderful bounty!
“Surely the apple is the noblest of fruits.” ~Henry David Thoreau, Wild Apples