Here’s to another triumph for dehydration. There are several great ways to preserve apples, but as for tomatoes, drying is my top choice. The prep work for drying apples is time consuming, but once the dehydrator trays are filled, there is nothing more to do than enjoy the aroma as they dry. No standing over a boiling water bath. In this recipe, I offer our 2 favorite spice combos, but feel free to concoct your own.
Tips and tricks
This accomplishes three things:
- It reduces browning (but apples with a strong tendency to quickly brown, such as McIntosh, will still brown somewhat).
- It makes the surfaces crisper (even if you dry them to a leathery texture, rather than to brittle chips).
- It slightly sweetens the apples, which is particularly good if your apples are very tart (ours are)
Many people treat the apple slices with an acidic solution of lemon juice, citric acid, or ascorbic acid, instead of honey, to prevent browning. Those are good options if you apples are very sweet, but you can still use a honey soak even for sweet apples. The amount of honey used in this recipe sweetens the apples only slightly.
To peel or not to peel?
To be honest, I’ve never dried apples without first peeling them. I’ve read that the peels can become bitter after drying, so I always peel. If you have found that they don’t become bitter, please let me know, as I would love to eliminate that step!
You can, of course, dry them plain, but the spices make them a most delicious snack. A little sugar goes a long way, and makes it much easier to evenly sprinkle the spices. But you could omit the sugar, if you prefer. Try your favorite spice combo, or use one of my suggestions: a traditional spice mix or a chai spice mix.
A good quality peeler/corer contraption will save a lot of time. I don’t have one of those, so my neighbor suggested a melon baller for coring. That does save some time, but you need a good, strong one, so it won’t bend at the neck when you try to break through the apple skin.
Honey spiced dried apple rings
Yield: Two quart-sized bags of dried apple slices
- 1 quart warm water
- 1 cup honey
- About 6 lbs apples (fills up 4 trays of a Nesco dehydrator)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- Ground spices of your choice (Traditional spiced apple rings: 1 tsp cinnamon + 1/4 tsp nutmeg + 1/8 tsp cloves. Chai spiced apple rings: 1-2 tsp cinnamon + 1/4 tsp cardamom + 1/4 tsp ginger)
Blend sugar and spices in a small bowl and set aside.
- Stir the honey into the warm water, and keep it covered as you work, to keep it warm.
- Peel and core the apples, and cut them into 1/4 – 3/8 inch wide rings.
- Soak 3-4 cups of the rings at a time in the warm honey/water, for about a minute.
- Remove apple rings with a slotted spoon, and spread them out on dehydrator trays.
- Lightly sprinkle each ring with sugar/spice mixture.
- Set the dehydrator to 135 degrees F, and dry until rings are either leathery or crisp. It takes about 5-7 hours for leathery slices, and longer for crunchy apple chips. Make sure the thickest rings are no longer raw inside.
- Place your honey spiced dried apple rings into freezer bags. Before closing the bags, squeeze out as much air as you can, or use a vacuum packager.
- Store in freezer.
Drying Apples (University of VT Extension Service)
The Beginner’s Guide to Making and Using Dried Foods: Preserve Fresh Fruits, Vegetables, Herbs, and Meat with a Dehydrator, a Kitchen Oven, or the Sun
Shared On: Homestead Barn Hop