If you have an abundance of apples, these dried apple slices are a great way to preserve them! Paleo, Whole30, Vegan.
Apple harvest season, is there any better time of year?
It’s hard to deny that apples are one of the most loved fruits out there. We consume them in so many ways; by eating them fresh, cooking them into hearty fall meals, through applesauce and of course delicious apple cider.
If you just went apple picking, and are in need of apple preservation techniques, this one is definitely a winner! Dried apple slices store for a very long time, as long as you get them fully dry. You don’t even need to refrigerate them. They are stable at room temperature.
The best way I have found to cut apples for making dried apple slices is to cut them using a mandoline slicer. This yields more consistent slices, in terms of thickness. Getting a uniform thickness is ideal, so that they all dehydrate in approximately the same amount of time. That way, you don’t need to keep removing the slices as they finish. They should all finish at the same time!
Dried apple slices take a few minutes of prep time, and then the oven or dehydrator does all the hard work!
There are two methods of drying the apple slices; a multi-tray dehydrator, or a baking sheet in the oven. I own an Excalibur Dehydrator, which I love. But I understand that not everyone can afford one. There are cheaper options, or if you just want to do the occasional dehydrating, then your oven should work just fine.
A dehydrator is pretty straightforward here. You will use a mandoline slicer or a sharp knife (remember to protect your fingers, no matter which option you use!) and slice the apples into approximately 3/16″ slices. If it takes you awhile to prep the apples, you can keep them from browning in a bowl filled with water and a tablespoon of bottled lemon juice.
Remove the apple seeds and place on your dehydrator trays in a single layer. Set the dehydrator to 125F for 6-8 hours. Check on them periodically, and extend the drying time, if needed, for thicker apples.
If using an oven, prepare the apples in the same manner as for the dehydrator. Lay the apples out in a single layer on a baking sheet, or a cookie rack (this is best, to allow air circulation below the apples), and place into an over set at the lowest temperature. The time to dehydrate will depend on your oven.
Check periodically, to see if the apples are getting too hot. You may need to periodically turn the oven off and then back on. You want to maintain a temperature between 120 and 150F. A higher temperature, and the outside of the apples will dry, but the insides will remain moist as there is no way for moisture to escape. This is called case hardening.
The apples are done when they begin to crack as you bend them. Due to their sugar content, they will still bend a little, but they should not look wet or moist inside when you break one in half.
Store apples in an air tight container for several weeks. Check periodically for the first few days to ensure there is no moisture in the jar. If there is, continue to dehydrate until fully dry.
Should I remove the apple skin?
This is totally a person preference thing. I leave mine on, if I am using organic apples. If I am unsure of the source of my apples, or I know they were conventionally grown, I will remove the skin. I am particular about my apples, since they are usually a part of the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen.
Can I vacuum seal my jars for longer storage?
Yes, you definitely can do that! They should last for up to 6 months if you store your jars in a cool, dry place.
You may also enjoy:
Dried Apple Slices
- 4 large apples
- 4 cups water
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- sprinkle cinnamon optional
- Pour water and lemon juice into a large bowl.
- Slice apples using a mandoline slicer or a knife to around 1/8 inch thickness. The slices should be uniform in thickness, so they all dehydrate at the same rate. Remove seeds and place into the bowl with water and lemon juice while cutting the rest of the apples.
- If using a dehydrator, lay out the apple slices in a single layer on the dehydrator trays. Sprinkle with cinnamon, if desired, and place in the dehydrator at 125 deg F for 6-8 hours, or until there is no moisture left and they snap when bent. Continue to dry for another hour if you are concerned that they may not be dry enough.
- If using your oven, turn the oven on to its lowest setting, and lay your apple slices out onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper in a single layer. Leave in the oven to dry, approximately 5-6 hours. You may need to occasionally check and turn the oven on and off periodically, depending on your oven's minimum setting. Around 130-150F is ideal. Be sure to remove the apples from the oven if you bake something, and then return back to the oven once it cools back down.
- Store in an air-tight container at room temperature for several months, assuming the apple chips are dried fully. If any moisture is present in the jar within the first day or so after dehydrating, return to the oven or dehydrator until fully dry, before storing again.