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PDF Print versionDried apples, seasoned, or plain, are a great snack by themselves or addition to home-made trail mix. But the price in the stores is exorbitant! And when you make them yourself, you can be sure that the apples are free of pesticides and the finished dried apples have no other additives, like sulfur! Did you know it is incredibly easy to make your own sun-dried apples at home with no special equipment? The quality can be better than any you've bought and now you have any easy way to use your excess apples, as well as have them for use in the winter. They make excellent gifts, too.
Here's how to do it, in easy steps and completely illustrated. This method is so easy, ANYONE can do this! It's a great thing to do with your kids! All you need is an oven or food dehydrator.
If you'd rather can your apples, see this page for canning directions for apples!
It's fun to go pick your own and you can obviously get better quality apples! But you can also dry apples that you purchase at a grocery store or farm market.
Also, you don't want mushy, bruised or rotten apples!
Which varieties? Whatever are your favorites! I prefer sweet, flavorful apples, like Fuji's, but any will work!
Just wash them in cold water, no soap. If you are going to remove the skins, don't spend too much time on it. Either way, be sure to remove any stickers that the grocery store put on the apples, though. Peelers often get suck on those.
Cut out any bruised or soft parts.
If you do not want to remove the skins, skip to step 5. This is completely optional; some people prefer them with skins, some without. The type you buy in the stores usually has the skins intact.
The mechanical apple peelers really DO work well - they're fast and easy; as long as the apples are firm and do not have many bruises or soft spots.
This type of peeler also cores (eliminating the seeds, stem and bottom at the same time) AND slices the apples into a spiral that is about 1/8 inch thick. I break it into nice rings. This little device really saves a lot of time!
As I said at the beginning, you have 3 choices:
Regardless of the drying method you use, you spread the apple slice out on their trays and you may opt to sprinkle them with cinnamon or other spices!
Here are the specific directions for each method. NOTE: that there is a huge degree of variation in both moisture content and drying rate of different apple varieties, and ovens and driers vary considerably, too. The same variety will behave differently in different seasons. Plus you may like your slices more chewy or crisp than I do; which may require you to shorten or length the drying time. The key is to monitor the first batch closely, check them and sample them occasionally until they are the way you like and use that timing for future batches.
The amount of time it takes depends on the water content of the apples, the thickness of the slices, and how well the air is able to circulate around them. When done, the apples should be flexible, like a raisin from a fresh bag; not brittle. Most describe them as leathery with a deep red color, without free water or a tacky feeling. If you want them drier, more crispy, that's fine, but you need to dry them at least to the consistency of a raisin, or they won't keep!
Let the apples cool to room temperature (about 20 to 30 minutes), then fill the bags. Don't overfill the bags, leave a little room for expansion. Do try to avoid leaving any air pockets! A vacuum bag is shown at left, but you can use ziploc (or similar) bags, show below. But be sure to squeeze out the extra air (below left is before, below right is after squeezing out the excess air)
Obviously if you haven't got a vacuum food sealer, just inspect the bags and you may need to open them and reseal them to eliminate any air pockets! TIP: If you don't own a vacuum food sealer to freeze foods, place food in a Ziploc bags, zip the top shut but leave enough space to insert the tip of a soda straw. When straw is in place, remove air by sucking the air out. To remove straw, press straw closed where inserted and finish pressing the bag closed as you remove straw.
On a cool, dark shelf, the dried apples will retain their color and flavor for about 6 to 9 months. If you want to store them longer than that, just put them in the freezer instead!
Comments from a visitor on September 02, 2011: "I just wanted to say that I use a bed sheet spread out on the trampoline to dry my apples. This allows for air circulation. I have wire screen to place over them to keep the flies and yellow jacketys off. This is the method that most all of us use in this area. "
From left to right:
Home Canning Kits
This is the same type of standard canner that my grandmother used
to make everything from applesauce to jams and jellies to apple and
spaghetti sauce. This complete kit includes everything you need and lasts
for years: the canner, jar rack, jar grabber tongs, lid lifting wand, a
plastic funnel, labels, bubble freer, and the bible of canning, the Ball
Blue Book. It's much cheaper than buying the items separately. You'll
never need anything else except jars & lids! To see
more canners, of different styles, makes and prices, click here!For
more information and current pricing:
Summary - Cost of Making Homemade Dried Apples - makes 4 cups
|Item||Quantity||Cost in 2020||Source||Subtotal|
|apples||10 lbs (to make about 4 cups of dried apple)||free from the garden, or $1.00 /lb at a PYO||Garden||$0.00|
|Ziplock type food storage bags||3 or 4 bags||$3.00 for 15||Grocery stores, like Publix, Kroger and Safeway and local "big box" stores; sometimes Big Lots and even hardware stores||$0.75|
|seasoning||Optional - 1 or 2 tablespoons - See step 6||$0.50?||Grocery stores, like Publix, Kroger and Safeway and local "big box" stores||$0|
or about $0.20 per cup