We do not have our own apple trees. If we had planned on staying in this house we would have planted two or three apple varieties this spring.
But even without trees we have an abundance of apple orchards nearby. So this morning we went on our first apple picking of the season. My little girl loves riding around on her daddy's shoulders so she can pick from the top of the apple trees. She makes us run through the orchard while she chooses what apples she thinks we should bring home. She actually does a pretty good job of picking apples.
Today's adventure was to bring home apples to be dehydrated into apple chips. Apple chips are a staple winter snack for us. Sour apples keep the best dried flavor so we tend to choose sour varieties and under-ripe sweet varieties. However, not all rows of trees in the orchard are labeled so the variety picked it is often a mystery to us.
Today we picked a peck of apples. Sounds like a nursery rhyme I know. A peck of apples is right about 30 apples, give or take, depending on the size of the apples.
After the apples have had a good vinegar bath, one by one I peel the apples with a vegetable peeler then slice them with my apple slicer and corer gadget.
I used to have one of those gizmos that would peel, slice and core the apples but it was so hard to keep in alignment it usually ended up mangling the apples which frustrated me to no end. So I unceremoniously dropped it into the recycling bin and got this little baby instead. Yes it makes me peel the apples by hand but frankly it takes less than a minute to peel an apple so it really isn't a big deal.
Next I center my apple corer slicer gadget over the top of the apple then cut through giving me nice neat slices.
Next I trim off any left over apple peel. The apple peels make eating the dried apple chips unpleasant to me. It is the texture of the peel that I really do not like so I make sure to take all the peel off before drying. After that I arrange the slices on the dehydrator screens fitting them tightly but without touching. I get about two apples worth of slices per level of my dehydrator.
Lastly I close up the dehydrator and plug it in. I usually let it run in the garage so the sound of the fan motor doesn't drive me crazy. I will let the dehydrator run overnight. It will take about 8 to 10 hours to dry the apple slices depending upon how thick the slices are and the humidity at the time (also depending a lot on your dehydrator). I like my dried apples to be bendable and a little chewy. Letting the slices continue to dehydrate beyond that point gives a very crisp dried chip that will easily break in half. They taste about the same but I like the chewy texture better.
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