Dehydrating apples is a great way to preserve the harvest. Dried apples can be used in so many ways, including crumbled on morning oatmeal, re-hydrated for baked goods, and as a sweet snack right out of the jar.
Citric acid water: In a large bowl, combine 1/2 teaspoon of powdered citric acid with 2 cups water. Stir until the citric acid is dissolved.
Lemon water: Mix 1 cup of bottled lemon juice with 1 cup of cold water in a large bowl.
Wash your apples under clean running water and place on a kitchen towel to air dry.
Peel the apples, if desired. Trim off bruises and damaged areas. Cut apples crossways into 1/4-inch slices. Remove the seeds and cores.Remove the apples from the pre-treatment solution and place on your drying screens in a single layer.
Drop the apple slices into the pre-treatment liquid and soak for 10 minutes.
Turn on the dehydrator and set the temperature to 145˚F to evaporate the moisture on the surface of the fruit. Dry at this temperature for about one hour.
Reduce the temperature to 135˚F and finish dehydrating the apples until done, about 6-12 hours depending on the moisture level in the apples. Dehydrated apples are finished drying when they feel leathery and dry to the touch.
Remove several apple slices from the dehydrator and let them cool for about 10 minutes.
Fold the dried apple slice in half. It will not stick together if it is dried properly. If it does stick, dry the apples a little longer.
Another way to test is to tear the apple slice in half and look for moisture. The apple is not dry enough if you can see beads of moisture along the tear.
If you like your dehydrated apples crunchy like a chip, dry them until they snap when you bend them.
Allow the dehydrated apple slices to cool for 30 minutes, and then package into airtight containers, jars, or bags. Label, date, and store in a dark location.
Yield: 6 pounds of apples will shrink down to about 1 pound of dried apples depending on the type of apple and moisture content. Store in pint size jars.
Keep an eye on the dehydrated apples for about a week. Shake them in their jars to distribute any residual moisture evenly throughout the apple pieces. If you see any condensation on the sides of the containers, return the apples to the dehydrator and dry longer.
Properly dried apples should keep for about 6 months sealed in airtight containers and stored in a cool, dry place. You can also freeze for longer storage, up to a year.