Once, when Jack returned from a birthday party, obligatory goodie bag in hand (when did that shit start by the way? It was not protocol in the 80’s to give goodie bags. Saved by the Bell stickers? Yes. But a full-fledged goodie bag? Pluh-ease!), he pulled out a pixie stick. He gave me a knowing smile and said “I know what this is…a HONEY STICK”, and he was honest to god happy about it.
Lest you think my kid is a kale eating, brown rice munching, sweets deprived kid, homeboy cleaned up at Halloween and was quite thrilled with himself.
When candy isn’t readily available, Jackster will attach himself to a bowl of fruit, and it’s on like Donkey Kong. Picture Jack as that hover board ship thing from The Hunger Games after a tribute has died. He just shows up, hovers there for a second, a cannon sounds, and then it’s gone.
And like Katniss with her eye on the bow at the cornucopia, Jack locks in on these dried apple slices. They’re like his crack. If there were Kindergarten superlatives, he’d win “best eyes, best reader, biggest lover of dried apples, and “most likely to shave a “J” in to the class guinea pig””.
The best part of homemade dried apple slices? They’re so simple, and you only need two ingredients – apples and lemon juice.
Dried Apple Slices
Apples – preferably firm apples, like Fuji, or other um…crunchy apples
Bottled lemon juice
Dehydrator (I have this one)
Vegetable peeler and a sharp knife, or be lazy like I am and use this peeler/corer
1) Fill a bowl with cold water and about 3 tblsp of lemon juice. Set up your work station with peeler, cutting board, sharp knife, and a container for the peels and cores.
2) Clean your apples, and peel, core, and slice the apples thinly. Or…
If you use a peeler/corer thingy, you put the apple on the pokey things (I seriously should write instruction manuals, right?)
Then turn the crank, and it will start peeling it.
Then it will come out on the other side naked, and ready to be sliced down the middle (that sounds like the start of a Saw movie…).
Voila, perfect apple slices.
3) Place the slices in the water/juice mixture.
4) Arrange the slices on your dehydrator so that they have space around each slice, and the slices are not touching. Set your dehydrator to the “fruit/vegetables” setting.
Now, the length of time they need to dry out will vary based on how many trays you have going on at once, and how thick your apple slices are. I had to buy extra trays because I was sick of having to do so many separate batches. If you think about it, rotate the trays every few hours. For this batch, I had nine trays going at once, and they “cooked” for nine hours. I should have stopped them at eight, but I didn’t. Cause I went to sleep. Because it was freaking late, and blog post be damned, I was tired.
It’s hard to describe when the apples are “done”. They shouldn’t be wet anymore, but even done apples might feel a bit sticky. The best way to see if they’re done, is to unplug the dehydrator, wait an hour, and then eat one slice from each tray. If there is any “squish” to the slice, they’re not ready. If they taste like paper, you probably did them too long.
Store them in an air-tight container like a mason jar, or a flip top style jar.
They keep for a very long time, but are always gobbled up by my boy within six months. I currently have a mostly full gallon jar (Goodwill for the win) hidden in the basement for a rainy day. They’re fabulous diced up and put in oatmeal or baked goods, but more often than not, they’re just used for quick snacks, and car treats.
Have you ever made dried apple slices? Any tips or tricks to share? What is your favorite way to utilize them? Jack votes “in my mouth”,