Diy Dried Apples

January 30, 2012

Posted by in simple living

diy dried apples

Homemade dried apples are such an easy and inexpensive way to sneak more fruit into your diet. Of course, nothing beats a fresh, juicy apple, but I like dried apples for their portability and versatility. A little bag of apples can be slipped into a small purse for an anytime-snack, and they make a great topping for salads. They’re also a fantastic way to preserve a large bounty of apples through the winter. The idea came from the book How to Sew a Button by Erin Bried, and I modified the directions to fit my needs.

Ingredients

- apples
- lemons
- water

Directions

Slice as many apples as you would like into pieces 1/4″ thick or less. They can be as wide or long as you like. You may also peel them, or leave the peel on. I chose to leave the peel on and they came out great.

Soak the apples in a mixture of equal-parts lemon juice and water. The lemon juice not only preserves the color of the apple, but it creates depth to the apple flavor without having to add sugar.

After soaking, place the apples on a cake rack on top of a cookie sheet. If you don’t have a cake rack (I don’t!), then just place the slices directly on the cookie sheet. I did not need to grease the pan – the apples came off fine on their own.

The oven should be preheated to 140 degrees F, and the apples should remain in the oven for five hours. If your apples aren’t on a rack, flip them half-way through. I found that my apples really needed about 6 hours.

The apples should be flexible and bendy. You can eat some immediately, or all of them if you just used a couple of apples. If you’re looking for long term storage, then after they have cooled, place them in a sealed jar for a few days.

Shake the jars every so often. Pasteurize them by freezing them in bags for two days, and keep them for up to 6-12 months in a cool, dry place.

ashley paul indie pretty project Out to find ways to make life simpler, Ashley is tackling life one DIY project at a time. Learning as she goes, she also spends her days writing Indie Pretty Projects and creating for her Etsy shop.

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31 comments

comments

  • Love this! Thanks for sharing!

  • These look so great! I love dried fruit as a snack, but it’s hard to find it without added sugar.

  • Molly, I agree! I can hardly stand to eat some dried fruit from the store. These apples really came out with just the right amount of sweetness.

  • Looks good – how long do you soak them before drying in the oven?

  • Natalie | February 1, 2012

    This is amazing! Buying shop-bought dried fruit is so expensive. On the other hand…you have to cook them in the oven for 6 hours?! So what I save at the supermarker will go on my electricity bill :/ Dilemma!

  • Evilware | February 1, 2012

    I love the idea but this could get quite expensive right? 5 or 6 hours in an electrical oven? How about sun boxes dehydrators? Regards.

  • How long do you soak them for?

    Can the same be done for bananas? I find I buy bananas but either forget to eat them and they pass (had one liquify on me) or they go bad in 2-3 days.

  • Cheri Arnold | February 1, 2012

    Do you know what the conversion would be to make these in a convection oven? Thanks for the recipe!

  • My mistake for leaving out that detail! Soak apples in the lemon water for 10 minutes.
     
    As for the costs, it depends on how large and efficient your oven is. At the “warm” setting, or up to 150 degrees F at most, I don’t believe the electrical costs were more than pennies for me. I don’t have a way to measure it exactly, but I know my electrical bill and how much I use my oven on a regular basis. Even when I was baking like crazy during the holidays, with oven temps up to 450 degrees F, I saw a negligible difference in our electricity bill. For reference, my oven is a bit on the smaller side, but over 35 years old.
     
    This technique is really useful for people who have apple trees (very common in my state, Michigan), because it allows you preserve a large bounty of apples before they go bad. Applesauce is another alternative, but there is really only so much apple sauce you can eat! Drying the apples is a great alternative.
     
    I also decided to dry apples for health reasons. To me, it is a healthy snack. Because the cost of apples is so cheap (at least where I am from), and the cost of electricity to dry them for me is definitely under $1. Compared to other snacks, such as chips, nuts, rice cakes, etc., it is still a cheaper snack. They last for months, and include no artificial preservatives! Even if the cost of electricity feels high for you, I think the health benefits of whole foods and taking the time to prepare your snacks yourself probably outweighs any costs.
     
    This is a decades-old technique that is meant to be a simple way to preserve food and eat healthily. I wrote this tutorial in Michigan, in January, where it is quite cold and snowy, so I had to use my oven. Had I written this in warmer months, I would have layed the apples on foil-wrapped trays in the direct sun, and made sure to freeze the apples in bags for 2 days to make sure any insects or fly eggs were killed off.
     
    Evilware suggested a sun box dehydrator, and I am sure that would work just fine.
     
    @Mario – Apples are the only fruit that I have dried so far – I’m trying strawberries next. I know that people successfully dry bananas all of the time, but I myself haven’t tried it yet.
     
    Thank you all for the questions, comments, and shares! I will continue to check these comments if anyone needs any help :)
     
    -Ashley

  • Elizabeth | February 1, 2012

    Thanks for sharing this. I wanted to let Mario know that when you have bananas that are getting brown and mushy, just toss them in the freezer, skin and all. Then you have a stash ready for when you want to make banana bread — defrost quickly in the microwave or for an hour or two on the counter. Brown mushy bananas make the best banana bread, after all.

  • Thanks! Just to clarify, to preserve I put the apples in the freezer for 2 days and then take them out? So they’ll go from room temp to frozen to room temp again?

  • Jennifer | February 1, 2012

    Do you freeze the apples whole before doing the drying process or do you freeze the apples for two days after the drying process?

  • @adela and jennifer – the freezing takes place only after the drying, when they’re already sliced. This is just to pasteurize the finished product if you will be keeping a large quantity for long-term, or if you let them sit outside for hours (you don’t want fruit fly eggs!). If you just made a small batch in the oven that will be eaten within a few days, I don’t think it’s necessary. I didn’t freeze mine. You take them out of the freezer and keep in an air-tight container, or you could vacuum seal them for long-term keeping. Hope that helps!

  • Anders | February 1, 2012

    Hello, Im curious about what type of apples work best. I imagine that the firmer ones such as Braeburn are best and softer ones such as Jonathan would get mushy. Any input?

  • Hi Anders! In How to Sew a Button, Erin Bried recommends Fujis and Golden Delicious – “the sweeter, the better.”

    I used Braeburns and they turned out very crisp and tasty.

  • Justin | February 1, 2012

    Do you actually juice the lemons or do you use lemon juice bought at the store? And by equal parts do you mean like 1 cup water and 1 cup lemon juice?

  • John W | February 1, 2012

    I’m going to have to try it.

  • just to clarify, we can put the apples into a direct sun light after soaking them into water with equal amount of lemon for 10mins? then after 5-6 hours of drying process, then we can put it into freezer and let it cool for how many hours again before putting it to an air-lock container? can i put plastic cover on the foiled tray while drying it?

  • @ Justin – I just squeezed the lemons directly into a measuring cup. Since everyone will probably use a different number of apples, I didn’t provide a measurement amount – just enough equal parts water and lemon juice to cover your apples. I think fresh lemons taste a lot better, but if they’re not available to you, store-bought lemon juice will suit the purpose. Good luck!

  • @Volt – you can place the apples in the sun on trays (I don’t know about the foil – I’ve never done it – may or may not help), on screens, racks, or whatever you have really. If using just foil or a tray without a rack, be sure to flip the slices every few hours.

    As far as plastic wrap goes, I don’t think I would use it for drying outside. Plastic has a tendency to trap moisture, and since we want the apples to dry, something that breathes better than plastic would be best. Since I’ve never done the sunlight method, I consulted How to Sew a Button by Erin Bried, and she recommends laying cheesecloth on top of the apple slices while they’re in the sun, if bugs are a problem in your area. This is where freezing them for 48 hours really comes in handy because it will kill any fly eggs that may have been layed in the drying process.

    The sunlight method will likely take considerably longer than the oven method. 5-6 hours in the oven; as long as it takes for the apples to dry if outside. This may mean bringing them in at night and drying them again the next day. The hotter it is outside, the quicker it will be. Temperatures in the 80s would be preferable.

  • thanks for the info, and by the way, can i use an alternative for lemon like orange ?

  • @Volt, yes you can! Oranges or even orange juice will work just fine, and I would think that it will taste great, too :)

  • nice thank u :)

  • RobLinger | February 12, 2012

    What if the lowest setting on my oven is 170?

  • @Rob – I think that should be okay – it will probably just require less time, and you might want to check on them every half-hour or so. Good luck!

  • cassie wadley | February 17, 2012

    I really crave the store bought dried apples that come in individual serving sizes, but only in the variety pack that has pears, also good, and strawberry/banana mix, (i’m allergic to bananas) The difference in this recipe is that they are not crunchy/brittle. How do I get them to that point, is it just longer in the oven? Maybe someone knows. I can’t wait to try this recipe with all kinds of apples and pears and strawberries. thanks!

  • my only concern is i don’t have an oven. i have a microwave

  • I have never done this before but I was just going to use my pamper chief apple slicer that cores the apple and it produces 8 think slices of apples is that ok also?
    Another question I am doing a big batch so when I am done can I just vacuum seal them and they will be good for several months or do I freeze them first?

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