I don’t really like dried fruit, exceptions being raisins and figs. The other day one of my clients had a bag of dried apples on his desk and I asked him where he got them. He said a neighbor made them, to preserve the apples from his tree. It was a bumper crop of apples all over here this fall, so I thought this was a great idea.
I tried one, a bit reluctantly, and was surprised because it was really good. Chewy, not too sweet, not too leathery. But the real reason for my interest was because of Bixby. He will do anything for an apple and I have found that using apple chunks on walks works like a charm for training. But apple chunks are messy, especially when wearing gloves on a cold winter day. Dried apple chunks seemed like the perfect solution.
I googled around to see how to dry them in the oven. It seemed pretty simple. Most recipes wanted the apples to be sliced. I knew I wanted chunks, like the ones my client had – they would be best for training, so I wasn’t sure how well it was going to work.
I used my cooling racks to dry the chunks and placed my cookie sheet under it to catch the pieces that got too small and fell through the racks. Only lost a few. They turned out well and Bixby loves them. I still prefer fresh apples….
To make oven dried apples:
- 4 to 6 medium apples, I think using tart ones work best because they sweeten as they dry
- drying racks
- lemon juice and water if desired – soak the chunks in lemon juice and water mix, dry completely before racking them up, to keep from browning
You can slice thinly – I’d use a mandoline – don’t bother coring, you get a pretty star shape when they dry – or cut into 1 inch chunks. I didn’t peel them because when they dry, the skin has the same texture as the apple flesh, so it seemed like an unnecessary step.
Arrange on the drying racks, with space between each piece. Place in a 160 to 170 degree oven and dry for 8 hours or more. You want them to be leathery, with no moisture left. With the slices you can dry longer for crisper chips. I don’t think it would work with the chunks. I cheated a bit and when it seemed like most of the moisture was gone and I wasn’t at risk of cooking the apple pieces, I raised the temperature to 200 degrees for the last hour.
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