Pack some of these dried apples in your lunch or take them on the trail for a healthy snack. Dehydrating apples while they’re in season means you can enjoy your favorite fruit all year long.
My other favorite way to preserve the flavor of apples is with this homemade applesauce for canning.
Preserving apples with dehydration
There are a number of ways to dehydrate fresh fruit, but the end result is generally the same. Homemade dried apple slices tend to be a bit chewy. The crispy apple chips you can pick up at the supermarket are actually freeze dried; you won’t be able to replicate that without a specialized piece of equipment.
The type of apple you use will depend upon what’s available to you. My favorite apple is the Gravenstein, but any variety will work. Just choose apples that are firm and ripe.
Peeling the apples is optional. The apple peel can tend to be a bit harder than the flesh when dehydrated, but many people simply skip peeling to save time.
Slice the apples into a uniform thickness using a sharp knife, aiming for an eighth of an inch thick or so. This means that the slices will be more likely to be ready at the same time. Peeling and coring the apples before you slice them allows you to make full apple rings.
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Sliced apples will oxidize and turn brown. This is somewhat dependent on the sugar content of the fruit. If you’re concerned about this, toss the sliced apples in a bit of lemon juice to help prevent browning.
To make these dried apples in a food dehydrator
This is my preferred method of drying fruit. My 9-tray excalibur holds the largest amount of fruit out of all three of the methods listed here, making the most of the energy used to dry them.
Place apple slices in a single layer on the dehydrator trays and dry at 135ºF for 4-6 hours.
Oven dried apples
Drying apples in the oven utilizes equipment most people already have on hand. It’s not the most energy-efficient method, but it does the trick in a pinch.
Line baking sheets with a wire rack and spread apples in a single layer.
Dehydrating apples in an air fryer
We can’t really grow a great crop of apples here, but that’s what the area I grew up in is famous for. Visiting my mom during apple season means I get to indulge in fresh apples, but I wanted to bring some home to share with my family. She doesn’t own a dehydrator, but she does have an air fryer. Sometimes you’ve gotta use what’s available to you.
The air fryer doesn’t hold as much as my large dehydrator, so it wouldn’t be a great solution if you needed to dry a lot of fruit at once. Use it if you have one, certainly, but my money’s still on a dehydrator for best use of energy and time.
Dry for 6-8 hours at 125ºF.
Storing dehydrated apples
It’s critical that you remove enough moisture from the apples. If they’re not thoroughly dehydrated, they’ll mold in storage. The apples should feel leathery and pliable when done. If any feel soft and fleshy, return them to the dehydrator and continue drying them.
Completely dried apples should be stored in an airtight container, such as a mason jar.
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- 4 pounds apples
Peel (optional) and slice apples. Aim for uniform thickness so all of the slices will dry at the same rate.
In the dehydrator
Place sliced apples on trays, close together but not touching. Dry on 135ºF for 4 to 6 hours or until fruit is leathery.
In the oven
Place wire racks on a rimmed baking sheet. Place sliced apples on racks, close together but not touching.
Set oven to 200 degrees or lower, with the ideal temperature being 135ºF. This will depend upon your oven. The bread proofing setting on newer ovens works well. On older ovens, you'll likely have to set it at the lowest temperature. Even then, you may need to prop the door open to prevent it from getting too hot. (You don't want to cook the apples!)
The timing for this is entirely dependent upon the temperature you use. Dried apples are done when they're leathery.
In the air fryer
Place sliced apples on trays, close together but not touching. Dry on 135ºF for 4 to 6 hours or until slices are leathery.
- Cool completely, then store in an air tight container at room temperature for months. (You can extend their shelf life by adding one of these DIY desiccant packs to the storage container.)
- Adjust the quantity of apples according to how many you have on hand. You'll use the same cooking time no matter how full your dehydrator or air fryer is.
- The type of apple you use will depend upon what's available to you. My favorite apple is the Gravenstein, but any variety will work. Just choose apples that are firm and ripe.
- Peeling the apples is optional. The apple peel can tend to be a bit harder than the flesh when dehydrated, but many people simply skip peeling to save time.
- Peeling and coring the apples before you slice them allows you to make full apple rings.
- Sliced apples will oxidize and turn brown. To prevent browning, toss the sliced apples in a bit of lemon juice to help prevent browning.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 118Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 2mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 5gSugar: 24gProtein: 1g