How to Dry Apples in the Oven

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Drying apples is a good way to preserve them for use in your favorite recipes later on down the road. It’s also the secret to making apple chips, which are a tasty snack in their own right. No matter how you intend to use them, drying apples at home couldn't be easier—all you need is an oven and a couple of hours. Just slice your washed, cored apples into rings and stick them in a preheated oven for 2-3 hours. When they come out, they’ll be delicate, crunchy, and oh-so-sweet.
[Edit]Ingredients 1-2 apples (washed, cored, and sliced) water lemon juice Cinnamon, nutmeg, apple pie spice, or other seasonings (optional—to taste)
*Makes approximately 20-50 slices*
[Edit]Steps [Edit]Slicing Your Apples Preheat your oven to around . Before you get started, turn on your oven to its lowest heat setting. That way, you can wash, core, and slice your apples while the oven is warming up. Once the oven reaches the desired temperature, all you’ll have to do is pop in the apples and set a timer.[1] Feel free to use a lower heat setting, if your oven has one. Some ovens go as low as .[2] Low, even heat tends to be best for drying, as it prevents food from burning. Keep in mind, however, that it can take considerably longer for your apples to dry fully at lower temperatures. Line 1-2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Overlap the individual pieces of parchment paper to make sure that the bottom of the baking sheet is completely covered. The parchment paper will prevent your apples from sticking to the baking sheets as the sugars in them heat up.[3]

You may need to grab an additional baking sheet if you’re going to be preparing more than 1 or 2 apples at a time. Wash your apples thoroughly. Run the apples under a stream of cool water. Use your fingers to gently rub off any stubborn dirt or traces of waxy coating. When you’re done, shake off the excess water and pat the apples dry with a clean cloth or paper towel.[4]

If you’re planning on drying lots of apples, it may be faster to wash them all at once in a colander or wire strainer. Core and slice your apples into slices. Cut the core out of your apples neatly using an apple corer or paring knife. Then, run the top of each apple back and forth over the blade of mandoline to reduce them to slices of a uniform thickness.[5]

If you don’t have a mandoline, simply use a sharp knife with a long blade to cut the apples as thin as possible.[6] When drying apple slices, it’s easiest to cut them into rings rather than wedges or other shapes. Dip your apple slices in a mixture of water and lemon juice. Combine of water and of lemon juice in a small mixing bowl and stir well. Dunk the slices in the solution for a few seconds, then remove them and set them aside on a layer of folded paper towels and press them dry.[7]

It's important to dilute your lemon juice. The natural citric acid will keep your apples from becoming brown and mushy while they’re in the oven, but too much can actually have the opposite effect.[8] This step is entirely optional. A little browning shouldn’t affect the taste of your dried apples. Arrange the slices on your lined baking sheets in a single even layer. Try to leave at least of space between each slice. This will allow more warm air to circulate between them, cutting down on their overall drying time and ensuring a more consistent texture.[9]

If you like, you can dust your apple slices with a light coating of cinnamon, nutmeg, or blended apple pie spice before putting them in the oven to give them even more flavor.[10] [Edit]Heating Your Apples Bake the apple slices for 1 hour. Set a timer to help you keep track of how long they’ve been in the oven. After about an hour, the edges of the rings will begin to curl slightly, and the peel on the outside will take on a darker color.[11]

If your oven doesn’t have a built-in timer, use a separate kitchen timer or set an alarm on your phone to alert you when your apples are finished heating on their first side. Leave the door of the oven propped open just a hint while your apples are baking. Doing so will improve the air circulation inside and help moisture escape.[12] Turn the slices over. Using an oven mitt or pot holder, reach into the oven and carefully remove the baking sheet. Flip each slice over with a fork or pair of tongs, then slide the baking sheet back into the oven.[13]

If you don’t turn your slices, they could come out more done on one side than the other. Continue baking for an additional 1-3 hours. From here on out, it’s best to simply keep an eye on your apples rather than resetting your timer. Try to check them every half hour or so to see how they're coming along. You’ll want to take them out once they begin to turn a golden-brown color around the edges.[14]

Drying times will vary depending on the exact thickness of your slices, as well as the natural moisture content of the variety of apples you’re working with. In some cases, it may take as long as 5-8 hours for your apple slices to dry out completely. This is especially likely if you have your oven set to a temperature lower than .[15] There's no need to turn your apple slices again once they go back in the oven for the second time, unless they start to get too brown on the bottom. Turn off your oven and allow your apple slices to cool inside. Let your slices sit until both them and the oven have returned to room temperature. This shouldn't take any longer than about half an hour. Allowing your apples to cool will make them safer to handle while also giving any lingering moisture a chance to evaporate.[16]

To determine whether your apples are done, take one out after they’ve had a chance to cool and tear it in half. It should be dry and leathery on the outside and slightly spongy on the inside.[17] If you think your slices need a little longer, preheat the oven again and place them back inside for 30 minutes at a time. Store your apple slices in a cool, dry, dark place. Once you’re satisfied that your apples are sufficiently dried, transfer them to a plastic zipper bag, lidded storage container, or mason jar. As long as you keep them off-limits to heat and moisture, they should last for weeks, if not months.[18]

Consider setting aside a few slices as soon as you take them out of the oven. Many people think that dried apples are best while they’re still fresh and warm.[19] If you’re worried about your apples going bad, stash them in the freezer. There, they’ll keep for 6 months to a year (or longer)! [Edit]Tips Drying apples in the oven is much cheaper than investing in an expensive dehydrator, much less work than drying them in a wood stove or microwave, and much faster than drying them naturally in the sun. Enjoy your dried apples on their own as a healthy snack, or make them part of a nutritious packed lunch. Try chopping your dried apples into small pieces and adding them to oatmeal, yogurt, or homemade trail mix. [Edit]Things You’ll Need [Edit]Slicing Your Apples Mandoline or sharp knife Small mixing bowl Clean cloth or paper towel Colander or wire strainer (optional) Apple corer (optional) Paring knife (optional) [Edit]Baking Your Apples Oven Large baking sheet Parchment paper Oven mitt Fork or tongs Plastic zipper bag, lidded storage container, mason jar, or other airtight container [Edit]References ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑

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