Reading online about drying foods using a fancy dehydrator had got me hankering after a bit of retail therapy, but then I remembered ……. that now we’ve moved I have an AGA that actually works! As opposed to a monstrous hybrid which didn’t. Dried Fruit ahoy!
If like us you’ve a lovely bumper crop of apples, you may also have plenty of storage space and plans to use them all up? We’ve not got masses of storage space so we’re looking to use a good amount in chutney, cakes, freezing some etc. I then thought back to the Healthy Treats I made earlier in the year and thought about massing a nice supply of dried apple to pad these out with.
I’ve since discovered with my first batch of dried apple, (which are more fruit crisps than dried apple, but still yummy) that actually they are just rather delightful to snack on and having a small ramekin dish of various dried fruits and nuts on my desk is a great way to prevent me reaching for something more substantial!
- Apples, as few or as many as you’d like/have room for
Wash the apples, then use an apple corer to remove the cores. You can peel the apples if you wish, but I really don’t think its necessary, especially if they are from your own garden and haven’t been sprayed with anything. Then you need to slice them thinly – a mandoline would be very useful here – try to keep the slices uniform so that they all dry at an equal rate. As you can see below, I’m not exactly practising what I’m preaching here. I don’t pretend that I’m proficient with a knife in the kitchen – but at least only the apple got injured this time around. I feel some retail therapy coming on soon.
I had read that if you put the slices into a bowl of carbonated water they won’t brown – this worked a treat, so did plain old tap water on the second run! No lemon or anything else required, and I’m not the fastest person with a knife by any means, so speed of working wasn’t a factor here.
Once you have all your apples sliced you need to do one of two things, either:
- spread the apple slices out on baking trays lined with baking parchment OR
- take some wooden BBQ skewers and a deep roasting tray that can sit the skewers across it nicely and thread the apple slices on to the skewers as I did above.
If you use skewers as I did, you’ll probably find that you end up with some bits of apple that are not entire circles and don’t want to sit nicely on the skewer, just slot these on to the skewer straight through the apple itself. Again if you look at the photo above the 3rd slice in from the left was secured this way.
You now need to put the trays into a very low oven to dry for about six hours, or use a dehydrator. This is where an AGA is ideal because you can pop them straight into the warming drawer to dry them slowly or you can use the simmering oven but keep an eye on them so that they don’t become very crisp! I left our first ones overnight by mistake and they were just a teensy bit on the wrong side of crispy.
Once dried out – you do need to be sure they are dried through though, or they may go mouldy, which is an awful waste – let them cool thoroughly before putting them into a glass storage jar. Then stash them in a dry cupboard to store. I’ve kept mine in the larder cupboard in the kitchen rather than in the larder itself, as I suspect the latter will be a bit too cold in winter and I want to avoid any condensation forming in the jars. Then enjoy.
Ways to use dried apple:
- Add to breakfast muesli and granola.
- Use as an ingredient in Healthy Treats.
- Munch as a snack – apple crisps – great to pop into children’s lunchboxes or take out on the hill walking.
- Use in any recipe that needs dried fruit as a substitute when you are missing or short of an ingredient.