The Lord has provided a bumper apple crop this year! For several weeks now, I’ve been slicing apples and starting the dehydrator before I begin work, letting the dehydrator run all day. When I finish work, they’re finished drying too. Providing I have a little time in the morning to get it started, it works perfectly.
I’ve grown to enjoy our dehydrator, but it wasn’t always like that.
I remember when I first used it: It seemed to take FOREVER, and I was worried the final result would mold because the food wasn’t super dry. The dehydrator barely left storage for a few years, until last year when I pulled it out to make homemade dried apples. That’s when I discovered a few key secrets, which I will share in this post about how to dry apples at home (the no-fuss way)!
How to Dry Apples in the Food Dehydrator
- Fresh apples
To begin, wash the apples well. (If you’re using homegrown apples, you might need to scrub the skins a bit. I use a kitchen washcloth.)
Once washed, cut the apples into quarters and remove the cores. Slice the apples into thin slices, as evenly as possible. A sharp paring knife with a quality blade makes this process easier. Don’t worry too much if you end up with some variation in thickness. Since you’re slicing by hand, it’s almost impossible to get them all even, and that’s okay. Just do your best. 🙂
Lay the apple slices on the dehydrator trays, squeezing the slices tightly together without actually overlapping them. Fill the whole dehydrator.
Next, set the dehydrator temperature. This is the key for me drying apples. My dehydrator said to dry fruit at 125 degrees, which I’ve seen other places as well. (I’ve read that this reportedly preserves enzymes since the fruit remains “raw” technically speaking.) But that didn’t seem to work for my dehydrator, a Presto model. It ran, and ran, and ran and wouldn’t dry the food well. I finally kicked up the temperature to 150 or 155 degrees, and voila! That did the trick for home dried apples. I suppose the exact temperature probably depends on your dehydrator, so play around with it.
During hot weather, I usually put the dehydrator out on my deck, so it doesn’t heat up the kitchen.
How Long Does It Take to Dry Apples?
Your dehydrator will likely need to run for 6-10 hours, or until your apples are very dry. (Exact runtime will vary depending on the apple variety, temperature/humidity conditions, and dehydrator model.) I always want to make sure my apples are dry, so I let it run extra long, until the apples are crispy. This ensures the fruit will store without molding, which is my biggest concern, since I’m using the dehydrator for food preservation purposes. You could make softer slices by dehydrating for a shorter period of time, but I’m not sure how well they will keep.
Once the apples are dry, unplug the dehydrator and allow it to cool for a couple of hours, covered. Once the apples have cooled completely, put the dried apple slices into a Mason canning jar and seal tightly with a canning lid (a re-used canning lid is okay). The canning jars with lids keep out the moisture and bugs better than plastic bags.
That’s how to dry apples the no-fuss way!
Common Questions on Drying Apples
Should I Peel Apples Before Dehydrating?
You could if you’d like, but it’s completely optional. The apple peels hold a lot of flavor and nutrition, so I hardly ever peel my apples for anything, except if they’re very dirty. I don’t peel them before drying either, but you could. I assume they would dry faster if peeled.
How Do You Use Dried Apples?
Technically, you could rehydrate the fruit and use it more like fresh fruit, but our family prefers snacking on dried apple slices instead. They make a delicious wintertime snack when fruit is in short supply!
How Do You Keep Apples from Browning When Dehydrated?
Some sources suggest pre-treating the fruit with something like lemon juice to prevent it from browning. Again, that’s not something I’m too worried about, partly because I’m not peeling the apples. As long as you work quickly, they aren’t exposed to the air for very long, and mine haven’t seemed to brown much as a result.
- Sharp paring knife
- Canning jar with lid
- Fresh apples
- Wash, quarter, and core apples. Slice into thin, even slices.
- Lay the apple slices on dehydrator trays.
- Turn on the dehydrator to 150-155 degrees F. (You may need to adjust this temp depending on your food dehydrator's tendancies.)
- Dry for 6-10 hours (or more), until apple slices are dry and crispy as desired.
- Allow dehydrator and fruit to cool, then store in a closed canning jar.