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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