New Technology for Old Ideas


Post by community member:

Our forefathers and mothers used to be self sufficient. They did just about everything, from fixing the windmill to delivering babies. And they could cook just about anything that was brought to them. If they had too much food they knew how to preserve it, from smoking to drying.

So, we are doing apple chips, but we are going to cheat and use newer technology for old ideas.

First off — at our house we have a food dehydrator. I got tired of using a small one so we got us a big one. Now, if you like dried fruit, meat, or veggies then you might want to ask Santa or one of his many helpers for a dehydrator. They are not all that costly, unless you get a big one.

We bought a bunch of honey crisp apples, about 25 or so. The hard part was keeping Kathi (my wife) out of them, ’cause they are her favorite — which is why we bought honey crisps in the first place.

Mix up some cinnamon sugar and put it in a shaker. You will also need a big bowl or container to let the apple slices lay in, lemon juice (or you can use a lemon-lime cola like Sierra Mist), a bunch of paper towels and a large working area. Let’s get started !

Wash your apples, and take off them little labels. Next, pour about 1/4 cup of lemon juice into the big bowl, then add about 5 cups of water (or use the pop and just pour in several cans). The lemon juice will keep the apple slices from turning brown. Same, if you use the pop.

We have a little machine that you crank by hand. It cores, peels, and slices the apples all at the same time and the slices are uniform, which is good for dehydrating. It also looks good. As the apple is sliced, in one long curl, you break the slice in half. Of course, you can do this by hand if you don’t have the fancy little machine.

Place the slices in the bowl for several minutes, then remove them, and lay them out on several sheets of paper towel. Then, pat the apple slices dry. Now, shake some of your sugar cinnamon on all the slices.

Take those slices off the paper towels and put them on the drying racks. Leave some space between the slices for air to circulate around them. Continue until you have filled up all the racks on your dehydrator or run out of apples or both.

Once you have the racks in place put the lid on or close the door on your dehydrator. Turn it on. You want to set a low temp so that you don’t cook them, but suck the moisture out of them. Let them dry for 12 hours or so. If you want them dryer, run them longer. We like our dried, but still pliable.

When they are dry enough, let them set for awhile and cool off some. Then place them in Ziplock bags. Put them in a nice cool place for storage. (I had some dried apples that were about 3 years old and were just as good as the day I made them.)

These are great for a snack or to use in cooking. Make an apple pie with dried apples. Or use them in your dressing or stuffing this Thanksgiving.

You will find all kinds of things to run through your dehydrator. Make up some dry veggies for homemade soups, or dry flowers for potpourri.

It’s fun and you can get the whole family involved. You will also save money on meals for your family. So have at it, dry some fruit, and veggies, save a few bucks, and feed your face!

Jim blogs at Granddad’s Corner.

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  1. Patrice says:

    Good post! I know the Amish make apple pies from dried apples, but I have never tried it.Dried food certainly takes up less storage space.

  2. lisabetholson says:

    Yeah for Kathy, those are my favorites also. I buy them by the box in the fall from a delivery truck that comes to St. Helens, Oregon from Yakama, Washington. YYYYUUUMMMMMMMMYYYYYY
    Aso I have used a dehydrator to dry apples and they are great. Just for a side note to anyone who thinks of Pizza, my daughter thought tomaotes tasted like pizza out of the dehydrator.

  3. kellyb says:

    I have apples in the dehydrator right now but I’ve never thought of using cinnamon sugar to jazz them up a bit. Guess what my next dryer full will include? These look terrific. I love my dehydrator.

    Patrice, the Amish dried apple pie is called Snitz pie. They also make a dish called Snitz and Knepp. It’s apples, ham or ham hock cooked with a little brown sugar and then dumplings are made and cooked in the broth. Probably a dietician’s nightmare but really tasty.

  4. CindyS says:

    Jim–Thanx for such an instructive post and with lots of photos! I’m afraid I’m succumbing to the need (desire?) for a dehydrator ;-). CindyS

  5. Rah says:

    You make we want to try this. Where do you get an (apple peeler–what’s it called?)? Obviously new to this. Thanks

  6. Rosemeri says:

    Thanks for the post, Jim. I have been dehydrating vegies from my garden for the past several months. Now, I think I will try your apples. They look great.

  7. Darlene says:

    I like your idea of putting the slices in the solution. When storing do you add the oxygen tablet or just fill up the bags? I would like to store without that added cost but I’m new to this so ..what do I know, a little bit of nothing. lol.

  8. Barbee says:

    Hey Jim, what an interesting post! I have never seen a peeler contraption thing — how neat! Nor, have I ever seen a dehydrator; your large one is beautiful! I love this post! Some of you people are soooo lucky to live in “apple country”; we have so few kinds of apples, just the usual grocery store ones. All we have around here (bluegrass region of Kentucky) is horses… and they don’t fit in a dehydrator.

  9. Barbee says:

    P.S. Forgot I meant to comment about using the soda pop to keep slices from turning dark: I never heard of that before. The things I learned from this post!

  10. Vicki in So. CA says:

    Thanks for this, Jim. My parents had a couple of apricot trees on their property and dried them every year. Your post reminded me that I really need to get a dehydrator and give drying a try. I’ll have to remember the lemon-lime soda trick. Clever!

    Typically, I check out contributors’ blogs if they have a link to them here. I just got back from your most recent stories about Thanksgiving in the Rockies. What a great experience that must have been – and so glad you took the time to share it.

    Honey crisp apples, here I come!

  11. Jim in Colorado says:

    Thanks, all, for the nice comments.

    For those of you who asked, my apple-peeler-corer-slicer came from The Pampered Chef. Here’s a link:

    I am glad to have had visits from some of you to my blog, too. Much appreciated!

  12. CindyS says:

    Jim–What brand is your dehydrator?

  13. Melinda says:

    This is probably a stupid question, but I live in Louisiana and was wondering about our high humidity. Do I have to do anything special as far as storage goes to keep the dehydrated food safe?

  14. Alanna says:

    I used to sell P. Chef. Love their products! Did you know you can make curly fries with the apple peeler. Peel the potatoes ,put them in a stone or dish,drizzle with olive oil and herbs of your choice and bake till done!

  15. Jim in Colorado says:

    Darlene: I have never used an oxygen tablet, but we don’t have high humidity in Colorado. Your county extension office might be a good place to check. Though, I think if they are dried enough, they might be good to go.

    Cindy S: My dehydrator is from Cabela’s. And yes — you NEED one!

    Melinda: According to most dehydrating guides, as long as the food is completely dried, it should be fine. Then again, I have never lived in a humid area, so you will want to find out for sure. A call to your county extension office might hold the answer.

    Thanks again, all, for the nice (and sometimes hilarious) comments.

  16. CindyS says:

    Jim–I thought it looked like the one from Cabela’s but with the door open, I couldn’t see the name. I can see that I’m going to have to get one! Thanx again! CindyS

  17. Darlene in North GA says:

    I live in GA and before that, FL. High heat and humidity in both places.

    My experiences are that the zip type bags do NOT hold a good seal. I’ve lost food that I put in zip-type bags, squished the air out of them and come back later to find that either I’ve had the food pick up a stale taste or that the bag has re-expanded and the food IS stale. I would suggest one of several alternative holding methods.
    Use a canning jar, empty #10 can(1 gal size)with a lid or seal it in a mylar bag.

    The jar or can is good for food that is going to be gotten into frequently and eaten quickly. The mylar is better for longer-term storage. After opening, you would need to either use a bag clip or store the contents in a jar or can.

    You might be able to reuse a mylar bag from the store that contained dried fruit. I’ll bet they retain their seal.

    And lastly, you can use an iron to seal mylar bags. Don’t throw away your mylar bags. When you seal them, seal them high and then cut off just below the seal. That way, you can reuse the bag. It will just get smaller each time.

    Darlene in No. GA

  18. Darlene in North GA says:

    Oh… and dehydrated food will stay safe, it’s keeping it palatable in storage and keeping the vitamins intact. So you will want to use an oxygen absorber in your mylar bag. Anytime you’re storing food long-term (over 6 months or so) you want to use an oxygen absorber.
    Note: they are NOT reusable! They are little packets of iron that when exposed to air, they remove the oxygen by the interaction that causes the filing to RUST. That’s why when you’re working with O2 absorbers, you only want to take out one at a time and then immediately close the container back up. Then reseal the container when you’re done using it for the day because the timer is running once those bad boys hit the air.
    Darlene in North GA

  19. glenda says:

    I missed this earlier.

    I have been considering a dehydrator and after reading about the apples and thinking about my fruit trees (I just know someday soon they will actually have fruit on them!)I will add it to my kitchen wish list, along with a Nutrimill, a Bosch mixer for bread making, and just recently a new Breville Smart Oven. The internet is a dangerous thing!

    Now I am off to visit your blog.

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