Great Snacking with Tart or Less-Than-Perfect Apples
Different varieties of apples give you different flavors for dried apples. “Delicious” varieties are fairly mild flavored, Gala or Cameo a little stronger flavor with a nice hint of tart, but tart apples are just sour and only get more sour during dehydration; not my favorites apples to just dry outright. But this recipe perks up the sweetness and adds a wonderful flavor. This recipe is also good for that bag of apples you got that just seems to have no taste to speak of. When these apples are “candied” you get the taste of those candied apples enjoyed at the Autumn festivals.
Don’t forget to save the peels to dehydrate for apple powder. Apple powder has natural pectin and is wonderful for a gelling, thickening or stabilizing additive in food. Tart apples usually have the highest amounts of pectin. Pectin is most commonly used to create fruit preserves.
6 medium tart apples (like Granny Smith, Braeburn, Pink Lady, or Melrose)
2 cups apple juice
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup Red Hots® cinnamon candies (sometimes called Cinnamon Imperials) or 8 cinnamon sticks
2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Wash the apples. Instructions are here for Cleaning Your Produce.
- In a heavy, large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat, bring the apple juice, brown sugar, candies or cinnamon sticks, and lemon juice to a boil, stirring constantly until sugar and candies are dissolved.
- Reduce heat; carefully add the apple slices as you peel, core, and slice each one to prevent browning/discoloration. (You can leave the skins on if you wish.)
Use a knife or your apple peeler if you have one. For ease, remove core area with a melon baller and slice (no more than 1/4 in [0.6 cm] thick).
- Cook, uncovered, until apples are tender, about 8 minutes.
- Pull the apple slices out of the syrup with a slotted spoon or tongs and drain well. I drain mine on a cooling/baker’s rack above paper towels. Place them on in a single layer on dehydrator trays.
- Dehydrate at 125°F/50°C until dry. They will no longer be tacky when fully dried. Take a few pieces out and allow cooling on a plate to test them.
When done, the apples are flexible, like a raisin from a fresh bag; not brittle (without free water or a tacky feeling). If you want them drier, more crispy, that’s fine, but you need to dry them at least to the consistency of a raisin, or they won’t last long.
Store in an airtight container. For most freshness it is best to keep refrigerated or frozen if they have not been dried to a crispy state. These probably won’t be hanging around long anyway once you and your friends and family taste them!
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