How to Make Your Own Dried Apples - easy and illustrated!

This month's notes: September 2014: Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries tomatoes, corn and most vegetables are being picked in most places; strawberries are finishing or done; Peaches are in and early apples have started. Find a local blueberry festival and blueberry picking tips here. See how easy it is to make strawberry jam or strawberry-rhubarb jam! Make your own homemade strawberry ice cream including low fat, low sugar and other flavors))  Have fun, eat healthier and better tasting, and save money by picking your own locally grown fruit and vegetables, and then using our easy canning and freezing directions!

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How to Make Dried Apples

PDF print version

PDF Print versionDried apples, seasoned, or plain, are a great snack by themselves or addition to  home-made trail mix. But the price in the stores is exorbitant! And when you make them yourself, you can be sure that the apples are free of pesticides and the finished dried apples have no other additives, like sulfur! Did you know it is incredibly easy to make your own sun-dried apples at home with no special equipment? The quality can be better than any you've bought and now you have any easy way to use your excess apples, as well as have them for use in the winter.  They make excellent gifts, too.

Here's how to do it, in easy steps and completely illustrated.   This method is so easy, ANYONE can do this!  It's a great thing to do with your kids!  All you need is an oven or food dehydrator. 

If you'd rather can your apples, see this page for canning directions for apples!

Ingredients

  • Apples - any quantity, ripe, but not over ripe, still firm. The yield varies considerably depending upon the moisture content of the apples, which depends upon the type of apple and the weather. Typically yield is 2 cups of dried apples for each 5 lbs of fresh

Equipment

  • Vacuum food sealer or "ziploc" type freezer bags (the freezer bag version is heavier and protects better against freezer burn.
  • 1 large pot and Large slotted spoon (if you want them peeled first)
  • And one of the following:
    • An oven OR
    • a food dehydrator OR
    • an automobile on a hot sunny day!

Process - How to Make Dried Apples from Fresh Apples

Step 1 - Selecting the applesApples

It's fun to go pick your own and you can obviously get better quality apples! But you can also dry apples that you purchase at a grocery store or farm market. 

Also, you don't want mushy, bruised or rotten apples!

Which varieties?  Whatever are your favorites!  I prefer sweet, flavorful apples, like Fuji's, but any will work!

 

Step 2- Wash the apples

Just wash them in cold water, no soap. If you are going to remove the skins, don't spend too much time on it. Either way, be sure to remove any stickers that the grocery store put on the apples, though.  Peelers often get suck on those.

 

Step 3 - Removing bruises and soft spots

Cut out any bruised or soft parts.

 

Step 4 -  (Optional) Removing the apple skins

If you do not want to remove the skins, skip to step 5. This is completely optional; some people prefer them with skins, some without. The type you buy in the stores usually has the skins intact.

The mechanical apple peelers really DO work well - they're fast and easy; as long as the apples are firm and do not have many bruises or soft spots. 

This type of peeler also cores (eliminating the seeds, stem and bottom at the same time) AND slices the apples into a spiral that is about 1/8 inch thick.  I break it into nice rings. This little device really saves a lot of time!

Step 5 - Drying the apples

As I said at the beginning, you have 3 choices:

  • A Food dehydrator - which is the easiest way, and since it is designed for this purpose, yields the most consistent results.
  • An oven - everyone has one of these, so that means you need no additional equipment
  • A car (well, or truck, suv, minivan, etc.) and a very hot , sunny day.

Regardless of the drying method you use, you spread the apple slice out on their trays and you may opt to sprinkle them with cinnamon or other spices!

Here are the specific directions for each method. NOTE: that there is a huge degree of variation in both moisture content and drying rate of different apple varieties, and ovens and driers vary considerably, too. The same variety will behave differently in different seasons. Plus you may like your slices more chewy or crisp than I do; which may require you to shorten or length the drying time. The key is to monitor the first batch closely, check them and sample them occasionally until they are the way you like and use that timing for future batches.

  1. Food dehydrator: Arrange the pieces on each rack so that air can circulate, preferably with a the pieces not touching each other, but there's no need to become obsessive about it. Some people prefer to sprinkle the apples with some spices (typically cinnamon, nutmeg or allspice). Turn the dehydrator on and enjoy the aroma.  If your food drier has a thermostat, set it for 140 degrees F. It will take 12 to 24 hours. See "how to tell when they are done" in step 7, below.
  2. Oven: preheat the oven to 150 degrees F (65 degrees C or gas mark 1).  If you don't have these settings, just use the lowest setting you've got. Arrange the apples on cake racks, spread out, not touching each other. Cookie sheets will work if you don't have cake racks or screens - but your need to flip or stir the apples once in a while to expose the other side of them. Some people prefer to sprinkle the apples with some spices (typically cinnamon, nutmeg or allspice). Close the oven. It takes about 10 to 20 hours, but you'll need to check periodically, including rotating the shelves and moving them up or down to get even heating. If you want to speed it up, you can bump the heat up to as high as 200 degrees F ( 93 degrees C), but you'll need to watch them much more closely. See "how to tell when they are done" in step 7, below.
  3. Automobile and a hot sunny day: It sound strange but the same stifling hot car that burns your legs makes an excellent food dryer.  Spread the apple slices out on shallow trays (they work better than cookie sheets, since you don't need to worry about leaking juice!).  over them loosely with cheesecloth to keep any potential for bugs to come in contact.  Put the trays on the dashboard of your car and roll all the windows up and park in the sunniest spot you've got. It's best to start in the morning and let it go to sunset.  It may take 2 days - bring the apples in the house overnight. Some people prefer to sprinkle the apples with some spices (typically cinnamon, nutmeg or allspice)  but you'll need to check periodically. See "how to tell when they are done" in step 6, below.

Step 6 - How to tell when they're done

The amount of time it takes depends on the water content of the apples, the thickness of the slices, and how well the air is able to circulate around them. When done, the apples should be flexible, like a raisin from a fresh bag; not brittle. Most describe them as leathery with a deep red color, 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 keep!

Step 7 - Cool, then Fill the Zipper-type bags

Let the apples cool to room temperature (about 20 to 30 minutes), then fill the bags. Don't overfill the bags, leave a little room for expansion. Do try to avoid leaving any air pockets!   A vacuum bag is shown at left, but you can use ziploc (or similar) bags, show below.  But be sure to squeeze out the extra air (below left is before, below right is after squeezing out the excess air)

Step 8 - Vacuum seal the bags (if you have a vacuum sealer)

Obviously if you haven't got a vacuum food sealer, just inspect the bags and you may need to open them and reseal them to eliminate any air pockets! TIP:  If you don't own a vacuum food sealer to freeze foods, place food in a Ziploc bags, zip the top shut but leave enough space to insert the tip of a soda straw. When straw is in place, remove air by sucking the air out.  To remove straw, press straw closed where inserted and finish pressing the bag closed as you remove straw.

Step 9 - Store the bags in a cool, dark place

On a cool, dark shelf, the dried apples will retain their color and flavor for about 6 to 9 months. If you want to store them longer than that, just put them in the freezer instead!


Comments and Tips from Visitors

Comments from a visitor on September 02, 2011: "I just wanted to say that I use a bed sheet spread out on the trampoline to dry my apples. This allows for air circulation. I have wire screen to place over them to keep the flies and yellow jacketys off. This is the method that most all of us use in this area. "


 

 

Other Equipment:

From left to right:

  1. Jar lifting tongs 
            to pick up hot jars
  2. Lid lifter 
            - to remove lids from the pot 
            of boiling water (sterilizing )
  3. Lid 
           - disposable - you may only 
           use them once
  4. Ring 
          - holds the lids on the jar until after
          the jars cool - then you don't need them
  5. Canning jar funnel
          - to fill the jars

 

   
Ball home canning kit water bath canner

Home Canning Kits

This is the same type of  standard canner that my grandmother used to make everything from applesauce to jams and jellies to apple and spaghetti sauce. This complete kit includes everything you need and lasts for years: the canner, jar rack, jar grabber tongs, lid lifting wand, a plastic funnel, labels, bubble freer, and the bible of canning, the Ball Blue Book. It's much cheaper than buying the items separately. You'll never need anything else except jars & lids! To see more canners, of different styles, makes and prices, click here!For more information and current pricing:



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Summary - Cost of Making Homemade Dried Apples - makes 4 cups

Item Quantity Cost in 2007 Source Subtotal
apples 10 lbs (to make about 4 cups of dried apple) free from the garden, or $0.50 cents/lb at a PYO Garden  $0.00
Ziplock type food storage bags 3 or 4 bags $3.00 for 15 Grocery stores, like Publix, Kroger and Safeway and local "big box" stores; sometimes Big Lots and even hardware stores $0.75
seasoning Optional - 1 or 2 tablespoons - See step 6 $0.50?  Grocery stores, like Publix, Kroger and Safeway and local "big box" stores $0
Total $0.75 total
 or about  $0.20 per cup

 

Answers to Common Questions


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Remember to ALWAYS call the farm or orchard BEFORE you go - weather, heavy picking and business conditions can always affect their hours and crops!


PYO Farms in Other Countries: [ Australia ] [ Canada ] [ South Africa ] [ New Zealand ] [ United Kingdom ]

Our other free, informative sites you may like:

EHSO.com - Environmental health and safety information and guidance for the home
ConsumerFraudReporting.org - Information about identity theft, frauds and scams; how to report them and how to protect your identity.
FitnessAndHealthScience.org - Practical fitness, health and diet information that works.
And our other related websites!


Care to Donate to help me keep the website going? Donate to me at Benevia here:

Use the feedback form for questions, comments and feedback about farmsUse this form suggest a farm to add to the website
Or as a last result (I reply to the forms FIRST),write me at 
 Write to pickyourown.org
All images and text  Copyright ©
Benivia, LLC 2004 - 2012 All rights reserved.   
Disclaimer and Privacy Policy
Permission is given to link to any page on www.pickyourown.org Do NOT copy and republish this page in whole or part, that is a copyright violation which will be prosecuted: link to the page instead!
Looking for jobs on farms?  Farmers:
If you'd like to advertise or have your own web page(s), click here!


Remember to ALWAYS call the farm or orchard BEFORE you go - weather, heavy picking and business conditions can always affect their hours and crops!


PYO Farms in Other Countries: [ Australia ] [ Canada ] [ South Africa ] [ New Zealand ] [ United Kingdom ]

Our other free, informative sites you may like:

EHSO.com - Environmental health and safety information and guidance for the home
ConsumerFraudReporting.org - Information about identity theft, frauds and scams; how to report them and how to protect your identity.
FitnessAndHealthScience.org - Practical fitness, health and diet information that works.
And our other related websites!


Care to Donate to help me keep the website going? Donate to me at Benevia here:

Use the feedback form for questions, comments and feedback about farmsUse this form suggest a farm to add to the website
Or as a last result (I reply to the forms FIRST),write me at 
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All images and text  Copyright ©
Benivia, LLC 2004 - 2012 All rights reserved.   
Disclaimer and Privacy Policy
Permission is given to link to any page on www.pickyourown.org Do NOT copy and republish this page in whole or part, that is a copyright violation which will be prosecuted: link to the page instead!
Looking for jobs on farms?  Farmers:
If you'd like to advertise or have your own web page(s), click here!


Remember to ALWAYS call the farm or orchard BEFORE you go - weather, heavy picking and business conditions can always affect their hours and crops!


PYO Farms in Other Countries: [ Australia ] [ Canada ] [ South Africa ] [ New Zealand ] [ United Kingdom ]

Our other free, informative sites you may like:

EHSO.com - Environmental health and safety information and guidance for the home
ConsumerFraudReporting.org - Information about identity theft, frauds and scams; how to report them and how to protect your identity.
FitnessAndHealthScience.org - Practical fitness, health and diet information that works.
And our other related websites!


Care to Donate to help me keep the website going? Donate to me at Benevia here:

Use the feedback form for questions, comments and feedback about farmsUse this form suggest a farm to add to the website
Or as a last result (I reply to the forms FIRST),write me at 
 Write to pickyourown.org
All images and text  Copyright ©
Benivia, LLC 2004 - 2012 All rights reserved.   
Disclaimer and Privacy Policy
Permission is given to link to any page on www.pickyourown.org Do NOT copy and republish this page in whole or part, that is a copyright violation which will be prosecuted: link to the page instead!
Looking for jobs on farms?  Farmers:
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