Drying Apples & Apple Leather
This is our last fall staying in New England and luckily for us it has been an excellent year for apples. With this abundance of free apples this fall and not much other produce we were able to put a lot of our energy in making delicious apple snacks for winter.
Drying apples is really simple and often cost effective because in many places you can get apples for cheap or free if you are willing to pick them yourselves or pick up drops.
This may differ if you don’t live in the New England but dehydrating is the nearly the same for many different fruits. We have dried peaches, pears, raspberries, and strawberries all with great success.
To dry apples and apple leathers we use our 9 tray excalibur dehydrator which we absolutely adore. I know , I know it uses quite a bit of electricity for someone who wants to go off grid but it was a gift and it works so well!
Plus unlike freezing food we’re only using the electricity once. In the future we hope to build a big solar dehydrator to use when we don’t have power to run this.
We haven’t started building one yet mainly because our dorm room is a little small for that type of project but there are many plans available online to build your own solar dehydrator.
**update** 8/16 We grew and foraged so much this summer that my love of this dehydrator has too! So far we’ve dried blackberry leather, tomatoes, tomato skins, peppers, chanterelles, oyster mushrooms, mint, nettles, mullein, red clover blossoms and more. We’ll be running our excalibur off solar panels plus using a solar dehydrator.
If you don’t have any dehydrator you can also use an oven on the lowest possible temperature. You will have to watch your fruit more closely and may need to leave the oven door cracked open.
How to make dried apples
All we do is cut the apples in small chunks and lay them out in a single layer on our trays. We dehydrate them at 135 degrees or the “fruit setting.” It takes about 4 hours but may differ if you decide to do different size chunks or rings instead.
We use our apples mostly in hot cereal for breakfast but we also eat them plain or in trail mix as snacks. Our friend Pilgrim also added a few to some granola bars and they were delicious!
How to make apple leathers
Apple leathers are also very easy if you have applesauce on hand. All we do is spread our applesauce about 1/4 inch thick on our trays and dehydrate them for about 3 hours on at 135 degrees.
Sometimes we also add seasonings to our sauce like cinnamon or sugar or other fresh or cooked mashed up fruit like raspberries. There’s so many tasty combinations.
When they are done they will be sticky but not wet. The last step is to store them. We cut them into strips, roll them up, and keep them in mason jars. They’re great for kids and are so much healthier than store bought fruit roll-ups.
Stay tuned for our next post on water bath canning applesauce!
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