Once upon a time I had a mother-in-law. And my mother-in-law did an amazing and delicious thing each fall with the dozens and dozens of apples on her backyard apple tree: she dehydrated them and created scrumptious apple chips that she happily shared with me. I grew so accustomed to her apple-sharing nature that long after she was no longer technically my mother-in-law I still made regular requests for bags of apple chips. My requests were always lovingly and graciously granted (aren’t moms the best?!).
But the 2,144 miles separating us were a real barrier to getting my apple chip fix.
The moment I realized I could overcome this obstacle I took immediate action.
I called my mom (a mere 4.1 miles away) and asked to borrow her dehydrator. It was, after all, just sitting there temporarily unused. Mom happily consented (aren’t moms the best?!) and I drove over to retrieve the big black dehydrating box that plugs into the wall.
And then it sat unused on top of my refrigerator for an entire year because I apparently have had no time to figure out how to plug it into the wall.
Until last week when I went apple picking for the very first time ever in my entire life. (Thank you, Mo.) I know, right?! But that’s another story for another blog, although I highly recommend picking your own apples if you live near enough an orchard. I visited the lovely and expansive Sky Top Orchard in Flat Rock, North Carolina, and was amazed at how many varieties of trees they have.
I filled my bucket mostly with two varieties: Pink Lady and Blushing Gold, both on the crunchy and sweetly tart side. Mmmm. Yummy.
Is it just me or does anyone else go a leetle bit nutso when you visit somewhere like Sky Top Orchard and before you leave you’re laden with treats (because I’ll just go ahead now and say “HELLO and please can I have another dozen Apple Cider Doughnuts” made fresh daily), more apples (an entire bushel) than you can possible use in three months’ time at normal consumption rates – and that includes throwing a couple into a smoothie once a day “normal consumption,” two jars of apple butter, a gallon + a half-gallon of house-made cider AND a full-size take and bake apple pie?! Okay, that’s what I thought. Me, either. Not guilty at all.
But suppose you DID suddenly have in your possession an entire bushel of apples – what would you do with them?
While I was growing up we had a root cellar that housed a huge (or it seemed so at the time) apple bin where we stored apples and it was cool enough down there that the apples lasted months.
According to the Sky Top website:
Apples ripen 10x faster at room temperature than when kept in a refrigerator. Chilled apples should last 90 days. Some varieties are better for storing long-term than others. Typically, late-season apples last longer than early ripening varieties.
My option was singular and obvious: dehydrate them I would. (Thank you, Yoda.) Welcome, you are.
People. THIS WAS SO EASY.
Well, and by easy I mean it was so easy watching my nephew (who just happened to stop by and for a free meal agreed to be my cohort in our apple prepping adventure! Thank you, Jared!) set up my newly-purchased all-in-one apple corer, peeler and slicer — and I’m convinced having one of these contraptions is a must for ease of prep — and then proceed to crank the handle and churn out as many apples as we needed. I spent more money on said apple tool (it apparently works on potatoes, too) than you need to spend because I bought mine in the store as I needed it immediately, but with a few days’ notice you can easily order one online for future use.
Moral of my ever-lengthening story (who knew I had so much to say on the subject of apple dehydration?!):
Just dehydrate. Everyone (except my mom since I have her dehydrator) is doing it.
Oh, and please don’t take back your dehydrator, Mom. I REALLY REALLY need it for a few more years. (Aren’t moms the BEST?!)xoxo, Arminda The Dehydrator of Apples
Dehydrating apples is as easy as 1-2-3. With a minimal amount of prep you'll have delicious apple chips to enjoy!
Depending on the size of your dehydrator, determine how many apples you will need to fill it. I also recommend prepping only a handful of apples at a time so as to prevent oxidization before you have time to fill your trays.
My former mother-in-law always dips her slices in unsweetened pineapple juice prior to placing the apple rings on the trays. I happened to have some pineapple juice so I used it until I ran out. There is a slight (very slight) difference in taste between the slices I dipped and the slices I dried sans juice.
As for the oxidization worry - it didn't make any difference in the way the apples looked after dehydration.
So, it's really up to you if you like the slight zing the pineapple juice gives the slices then use it, otherwise, don't bother with the extra step.
Cinnamon - if you like you can sprinkle cinnamon onto the apples before you load the trays into the dehydrator. Again, it's a taste preference. I did half with and half without. My daughter requested cinnamon so that our entire house would smell of it and that was a lovely side-effect.
And that's all there is to it.
I think it took me less than an hour to prep and load the dehydrator and then ten hours to dry them to our preferred crunchiness. Your dehydrator will have temperature and time recommendations.