Friday, July 2, 2010

Air Dried Apple Rings

After the family had rapidly consumed the dried apples from a week or so ago, (which as it turned out only took about two days to air dry), I was looking to make some more. And as luck would have it, I happened to come across some pink lady apples for 99cents a kilo!

Pink Lady apples..a delicious eating apple!
After purchasing 5kg and bringing them home, the 10 year old was suddenly eager to help.
To start off with, she peeled them with my new groovy apple peeler picked up from the op shop. This little gadget makes quick work of the apples, literally peeling them in two seconds! Really! I kid you not.



The peeled apples were then cored and sliced, this time slightly thicker than my previous batch..maybe 3-4mm thick. The slices were then soaked in a bowl of lemon juice...


...and then threaded onto some wooden dowel that we had picked up at the hardware shop that day. After trying the string on my first batch, I was looking for something a little sturdier to hold the apples. The dowel is untreated oak and about 9mm in diameter. I bought 2 lengths of 2 meters each, and being untreated, I felt pretty comfortable using it to dry food.


The dowel was then hung on some hooks that I had fitted onto a large beam that runs across the bench in our kitchen. It was just a simple set up with some cup hooks and S hooks to bring the dowel down a little to allow for the height of the apple rings. I even used string on one end, where I had run out of S hooks! Worked great!


The apples nearly all fit onto the dowel lengths, although they were slightly squashed and I had to add an extra string line. Ideally, 1kg of sliced apples would fit comfortably onto 1 metre of dowel.


The spot where they are drying is nice and warm, being in our kitchen/living area which is exposed to the constant heat of the wood heater. There is good air circulation and the humidity is low. The temperature usually hovers on 18-20c. And being in the kitchen, I'm not likely to forget about them and actually had a very nice time nibbling on them as they dried..all for testing purposes of course!

The apples took about 3 days to dry this time around with some slices needing an extra day. The finished texture of our apples is leathery..almost like a chamois cloth..but much tastier!

If they are going to be stored for any length of time, the dried apples need to be 'pasteurized'. This is done by placing them in a freezer in plastic storage bags for a few days and then pulled out and stored in an airtight container. The freezer must be at 0c to pasteurize effectively - a freezer on top of a refrigerater won't be up to scratch. Alternatively the dried fruit can be heated in a low oven (80c/175f) for 10-15 minutes. This method destroys more vitamins than the freezer method. Pasteurizing causes any insect eggs or micro organisms that may be present and possibly cause spoilage to be destroyed.

Our finished dried apples after 3 days

We have an admirable supply of dried apples now, and are all enjoying munching on them as a healthy snack. Be warned though..they are very morish!! Oh and the lengths of dowel also make great pasta drying racks!

9 comments:

  1. Wonderful! I am definitely doing this, too easy!

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  2. This is brilliant! A thousand thank yous. I am definitely trying this!!

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  3. I'm with your ten your old, I want to play with that apple peeler too.

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  4. What a fantastic idea! I wonder if it would work up in Qld?

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  5. I'm so impressed they didn't go brown, Christine! We haven't had much luck with lemon juice keeping the colour - we usually have to use a vit C solution. Mind you, we've never dried them either, only ever frozen.. :)

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  6. You're welcome, Christie and LJ :o)

    Cityhippy, it was a real battle to see who could play with it most! So much fun.

    Hmmm, not sure Lisa. Maybe, if the humidity wasn't too high?

    I was pretty surprised too, Celia. There is some discoloration around the center holes, but I think we can cope with that ;o)

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  7. These look great Christine, thanks for explaining your method!

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  8. Oh, NOW I'm feeling hungry!

    Nom noms!

    And guess what - we're planting apple trees in two weeks time! So I'll be filing this away!

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  9. I have been drying apples I had given to me from a friend who has a granny smiths tree.
    I also dried over 30 kilos of sliced oranges and lemons that can be made into drinks when oranges are out of season

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