Wednesday, August 18, 2010

oven dried apples


When I beseeched my husband to scale our tallest ladder in pursuit of the forbidden fruit, it was with no notion of what his valiant efforts would yield.  It is one solitary tree, after all.  Ten pounds of apples later, I had my answer. 

It may not sound like much but ten pounds is a lot of apples.  All of a sudden, I was thrust into apple mode, peeling, coring and slicing away.  It seemed as though I would never reach the bottom of the bowl… 

Slowly but surely, the mountain of apples began to shrink but now I was faced with a new problem:  What could I possibly do with all those apples?!

Apple sauce was a no brainer; as was apple pie.  That took care of more than half which meant there were still a fair amount of apples to contend with.  I’d been meaning to try out a whole grain scone recipe that called for dried apples.  That gave me an idea.  Dried apples were the perfect solution.  A little online research revealed I could dry them in my oven, no dehydrator required. 

The oven method was a success.  They turned out just as dried apples should- tart, sweet and slightly chewy.  They were perfect in the scones and my daughter went gaga for them. 

The consensus: Oven dried apples are good to eat, simple to make and worth the effort. 

oven dried apples

yields approximately 2 cups


4-5 lbs apples
2 lemons or 1/2 cup lemon juice


Preheat oven to 140 - 150 degrees Fahrenheit.
Wash apples, making sure to remove any stickers.  Remove bruised spots from apples.  Peel skin or leave it on, according to preference.  Core the apples and slice them about 1/4 inch thick.  Try to keep the slices similar in thickness to insure even drying time. 

To diminish browning, soak apples for 10 minutes in bowl of cold water and lemon juice. 
Place two cooling racks in two large rimmed cookie sheets.  Arrange apple slices on racks.  It is possible to dry apples without the racks but it will be necessary to occasionally turn the apples to expose the other side. Transfer apples to oven, on two shelves.  Leave oven door slightly ajar to prevent condensation which slows the drying time. 

Apples should dry in approximately 10 hours, possibly longer.  They will be flexible, not brittle, with the consistency of a raisin.  If they feel sticky or if the center is still watery, they need more time.  For crispier apples, leave them in a little longer.
Cool apples to room temperature, about 30 minutes, before storing.  When stored properly, dried apples will keep for six to nine months.

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