Drying Apples: Rings of Gold

 

Dried apple slices

Drying apples is surprisingly easy. Well, ok not easy exactly, but certainly not difficult. 

I picked a large bag of apples at a neighbour’s yard and brought them home to see what I could make with my new dehydrator. I started by using an old fashioned peeler/slicer to cut them up into rings. It’s pretty cool how it makes a spiral of the apples and removes the core, saving a ton of labour. 

If you’ve looked closely at the picture, you can see that I didn’t even bother to peel all of the apples. After about the third batch in the dehydrator I didn’t think it was necessary, and not peeling them saved me a significant amount of time and effort.

I soaked the apple slices in the requisite amount of Fruit Fresh preservative, which is supposed to prevent them from turning brown but frankly I saw only a small amount of difference between using it and not. It makes no difference to the taste what-so-ever, only the appearance. If I was making these for a gift I might be more concerned, but I plan to eat (almost) all of these myself. So there!

I then placed the slices in my dehydrator, careful not to overlap them. They took about 4-5 hours to dry at a setting of 120F. Voila, I had the most amazing dried snacks that will keep in the fridge for months should they be so lucky to last that long.

Note: I made apple fruit leather at the same time; for that blog post go here.

Making Fruit Leather

The apple-strawberry leather sauce has just been put in the dehydrator

Recipe for vegan leather 🙂 That sounds so wrong…

This is the perfect snack food – both healthy and delicious.

Since I found a dehydrator at a garage sale a couple of weeks ago I’ve been using it like crazy to make all sorts of treats. One of the simplest is fruit leather (AKA Fruit Roll-Ups).

Basically all you need to make fruit leather is some sort of fruit sauce. I made apple sauce with some apples from a neighbour down the street. To make apple sauce, follow one of the many simple recipes on the internet, such as this one. Don’t add any more water than you absolutely need to make the sauce; if you do it’ll take longer to dry.

I made mine with only (peeled and cored) apples, some lemon juice and a bit of cinnamon. You can add nuts (but then you have to watch how you store it). For my second batch I added strawberries that I had in the freezer.

I learned a few things in doing this: First, make sure that the sauce is as even as possible when you place it in the dehydrator. You don’t want areas that take significantly longer to dry than others (although there will be differences here and there).

Second: Don’t fret too much about the peels. In fact, some peel in the sauce is good for you.

Third: Be patient. It takes hours and hours for this stuff to dry. I dried apple rings on other trays at the same time, and I could do almost two sets of apple rings in the time it took to dry the fruit leather. See next week’s blog for more about apple rings.

Lastly: Use your imagination. Just about any fruit can be dried this way, so try raspberry-banana or peach-cherry. Whatever you have in your backyard (or your neighbour’s backyard – with permission) will blend nicely with whatever you froze last month.

I have a NESCO dehydrator with six trays (two fruit leather sheets). I’ve found that 120F is just right for dehydrating fruit. If you don’t have a dehydrator you can use the oven (preferably with convection) and I’ve heard that you can use the microwave as well.