We’ve dehydrated food for camping trips for years, but for some strange reason, we never dehydrated apples. I know. It’s weird. Apples are one of the easiest things to dehydrate and a staple in many camper’s food barrels and backpacks. I changed that recently when I sliced up a few apples that nobody seemed interested in eating and threw them in the dehydrater. They turned out awesome. In fact, they disappeared in a matter of days and are now a snacking staple in our house. I’m going to have to hide some the next time I make a batch so we can actually take them on a trip.
Dehydrating apples isn’t complicated, but I thought I’d share how I do it and what I’ve learned over the last few batches of apples.
I use Ambrosia apples, which are typically a firm variety. This also contributes to having nice crispy apple slices. Make sure you look for apples that have no soft spots or bruises. This is really important when you buy apples in the Spring, as they’ve sat in storage since fall. Typically, storage apple quality starts to decline a bit in the Spring.
I think one of the biggest reasons my dehydrated apples are SO good is because they are thinly sliced. I used my stand-mixer with slicer/peeler/corer attachment to make quick work of preparing the apples. Using the slicer attachment gave me a consistent slice size, which also helped with the dehydrating time. My apple slices typically finished in about 10 hours.
If you don’t have a stand mixer, try using a mandoline slicer to get thin slices
Most of the apples in my pictures are peeled, but I have also dehydrated them with the peels still on. I don’t find much difference between peeled and unpeeled slices, so it really is a personal preference.
Most instructions will tell you to give your apple slices a lemon juice bath before dehydrating. The only purpose for this is to prevent your apples from browning. I typically do not do this, and find my slices don’t brown very much all.
After laying the slices out on the dehydrating trays, I sprinkle them with an awesome mulling spice mix I purchased from Manitoulin Island’s Hawberry Farms. Cinnamon and sugar are also great toppings for apples.
Once the apples are dehydrated, I put them in big glass canning jars and leave them on the counter – which is why they disappear so fast. Even the dog likes them. I really don’t know how long they last because they haven’t had a chance to just sit around. But I do think the key to long-term storage is ensuring the chips are dried to the point that they are crispy. If they are spongy and bend and do not snap in pieces, they need to go back into the dehydrater.
If you have any more tips for dehydrating apples, or have suggestions for awesome apple toppings leave a comment!