Whether you have access to fresh apples, apple trees in your garden, you simply love the flavor of dried apple slices or you are trying to avoid processed snacks, then dehydrated apples can provide you with quick, nutritious and healthy snacks for any occasion. Dehydrating apples is actually easier than you may think.
Dried apple is a great way to ensure that they do not go to waste and if you store dehydrated apples properly, you can make them last for a significant amount of time. Additionally, apple chips are a great way for kids to eat apples.
There are a couple of ways to make dehydrated apple chips, including dehydrated apples in the oven, but perhaps the best method is to use a food dehydrator. Here, we talk you through the best ways to make your own apple chips.
What are the benefits of homemade dehydrated apple chips?
The clear difference between homemade dehydrated apples and store dried apples is that homemade dried apples are usually healthier than store bought apple chips. Store bought varieties tend to have additives to help preserve them further, but with homemade apple chips, the only ingredient you really need are apples.
Dehydrating apples is also a highly cost effective method of using apples. The preservation ensures a long shelf life and provides a delicious snack without paying a visit to the store. If stored properly in an airtight container in a dark location, dehydrated apple chips can last for months or even years!
What types of apples can be dehydrated?
Ultimately, you can dehydrate any type of apple but the apple flavor is concentrated in a dehydrator, so it's important to consider whether you want to use tart apples such as Granny Smith or something sweeter such as Pink Lady.
Organic apples are the best type to use as they do not contain pesticides which can impede the flavor.
How much dehydrated apples can I create from fresh apples?
It's quite difficult to quantify accurately but if you have 5 pounds of fresh apples you’ll be able to fill about 2 quart size mason jars with dehydrated apple chips.
Should you peel apples before dehydrating them?
It's a really pertinent question and for many it is a personal choice. Dehydrated apple peel can be quite tough and chewy, and some people prefer to remove the peel. Additionally, some people think that the skin looks unsightly on finished apple slices and so it's best to remove the peel if that is your preference.
It has to be said, however, that much of the nutrition serving is actually from the skin of the apple. In fact, an apple with skin has 100% more Vitamin C and calcium than one without, so it is worth bearing in mind when considering your options. If you're looking to gain from the health benefits, then it is probably best to keep the peel on when making dehydrated apples.
How to prepare apples for dehydrating
Perhaps the key part of your preparation is to ensure that all your surfaces and equipment are clean to ensure that there is no contamination before the dehydrated apples are created.
The first step is to clean the apples thoroughly and then dry the apples thoroughly. You can then choose to peel the apples or not, dependent on your preference. You should then use an apple corer to remove the apple core and seeds.
Next, slice the apples using a sharp knife to about 1/4 to 3/8" thick. Dependent on your preference, you can cut into apple slices or cut the apples into apple rings. To make dried apple chips, it's best to slice apples thinly to achieve the best results.
In order to avoid the apples turning brown, you should place them in a large bowl and then mix 4 cups of water with citric acid or lemon juice and soak the sliced apples for around 5 minutes.
Finally, as an additional option you can sprinkle some cinnamon or brown sugar to add extra sweetness to your apple chips.
What do you need to make dehydrated apple chips?
As mentioned earlier, the best piece of equipment to use to make dehydrated apple chips is a dehydrator. That's because, unlike oven drying, it ensures that the drying process is consistent, circulating warm dry air and ensuring that the apples dry evenly and quickly, removing all moisture.
A dehydrated apple chips recipe is pretty simple, all you will need is:
- Apple corer and slicer (optional)
- Apple peeler (optional)
- Lemon juice
- Knife and cutting board
- Food dehydrator
- Kitchen towels
A step by step guide to making dehydrated apple chips
Making dehydrated apple chips is quick and easy - here is our step by step guide on how to achieve this perfect healthy snack:
- Prepare the apples as shown above. Pat them dry before using to remove any residual moisture.
- Place the apple slices on the dehydrator tray in your dehydrator. It is fine if the slices are touching, but they should be arranged in a single layer on your dehydrator trays to ensure a consistent finish.
- Turn on your dehydrator to the recommended setting. This is normally around 135 degrees Fahrenheit, but please check your individual model as all can vary slightly.
- Set the dehydrator on a 12 hour timer, which should give plenty of time for the apples to dehydrate sufficiently. Try a slice near the end and if they are not as crispy apple chips as you would like then add some extra time to the process.
- Cool the slices completely on some parchment paper and store them in a sealed container.
- Eat them whenever you like but a good idea is to place them in a sealed freezer bag to maintain flavor and freshness.
How can you use dehydrated apple chips?
The great thing about apple chips is their versatility. They can be used as a standalone snack or be added to a number of recipes. They are a great snack for kids with a sweet tooth as they taste sweet like candy but are a much more nutritious snack to be eaten on the go. If you have a lot of apple chips spare and you are wondering how to use them, they can also be used in:
- A topping for ice cream
- Mixed in a fresh salad
- Mixed in with cereal or granola bars
- Mixed in with yogurt
- An addition to cookie batter
The best way to know how to use the dehydrated apple chips is to experiment with them in different recipes.
Are there other methods of dehydrating apples to make apple chips?
The short answer is, yes. You can also air dry apples or oven dry apples to dehydrate them. However, both methods have their limitations.
Air drying apples is achievable if you have somewhere cool and dry to air them. If you try and dry them in somewhere warm and humid, they will quickly rot or grow mold but in certain environments it is possible. You can even use a fan to speed up the process but it can take up to a week for the apples to dry, and even then the results can be inconsistent and the end product can be chewy.
Making apple chips by drying apples in the oven is also achievable, but again the results can be very inconsistent. Firstly, you will need an oven that can function at an extremely low temperature, as you do not want to cook the apples. Otherwise, you may have to leave the door of your oven open to allow the moisture to escape. Ultimately, the process can also take a long time and you will again probably have a fairly chewy end product.
How do I store dehydrated apple chips?
You should always store your dehydrated apple chips in an airtight container to prolong their shelf life. Dried apple can also benefit from being stored in a glass jar or mason jar to preserve well. Alternatively a freezer bag or ziplock bag works well.
Dehydrated apples should last for at least 6 months if stored well but can last for a year and beyond. Frozen apple chips can last much longer.
What's the best dehydrator to buy for dehydrated apple chips?
Choosing the right dehydrator for your apple chips is dependent on your preferences, the amount that you like to make each time and your budget.
If you're looking for a starter dehydrator, with only 6 dehydrator trays for making small batches, then the Samson Silent SB-106B Digital Dehydrator is a great starting point. It is compact, and as its name suggests, it is very quiet and so can be left on in the background without making excessive noise. It's also very easy to store and doesn't take up much workspace.
If you're looking for something with a bit more room then the Tribest Sedona Express SD-6280, SD-6780 Digital Food Dehydrator has 11 stainless steel trays and boasts three different drying cycles dependent on your needs.
Whichever dehydrator you choose, you need to consider how frequently you are going to use your dehydrator and where you might store it when not in use. The 11 tray example above may not necessarily fit comfortably on a work surface, so it's worth bearing this in mind.
What should I do next?
If you want to make dehydrated apple chips at home, or even as part of a small commercial venture, then Extreme Wellness Supply has a range of suitable home and portable dehydrators, perfect for dehydrating apples at home or in a commercial kitchen.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will be sure to point you in the right direction.