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Drying apples for snacks or décor

By Constance Smith

Making your own dried apples is a fun way to use that seasonal autumn fruit. Dried apples are not only a delicious snack but are frequently used in fall décor. Whether you are looking for a healthy treat or a pretty and fragrant garland to hang, you can dry apples yourself.

First, you’ll want to wash your apples. You can use any variety of firm apple you like – red or green, tart or sweet. Choose apples that are fresh and unbruised. You do not have to peel your apples unless you choose to. Unpeeled apples have the nice texture and fiber as a snack but also the lovely color if you are using them for crafts.

Prepare a mixture of lemon juice and water – 1 Tb. lemon juice per cup of water – and place it in a bowl. This mixture will keep the apples from browning too much, particularly if you are drying these for snacks.

Core and cut the apples into thin slices – about a quarter of an inch thick is ideal. Dip the apple slices in the lemon solution, then place them in a single layer in your dehydrator. Repeat this with all of your apples.

If you would like to make cinnamon apples, sprinkle a little cinnamon or cinnamon sugar on top of the apple slices. If you are using them for crafts or décor, do not use sugar.

Once your apples are ready, turn on your dehydrator and let it run until the apples are dry. Depending upon your dehydrator model, this usually takes 12-24 hours. Your apples will be done when they feel leathery and almost crisp.

If you do not have a dehydrator, it is possible to dry the apples in an oven, though not necessarily recommended.

To do so, you would place your oven on the lowest temperature possible, normally 180-200 degrees, varying by model. Arrange the apple slices on the oven racks and allow the apples to bake at the low temperature. You will want to leave your oven door slightly cracked so the moisture can escape the oven, allowing the apple slices to dry and not steam.

The oven method normally takes 10-20 hours. This method does not work as well as using a dehydrator, but it is an option.

Dried apples for snacking or recipes should be stored in an air-tight container, such as a Mason jar. Keep them in a cool location, and they generally last up to six months.