How to make dried apple rings
January 14, 2011
Author: Neighborhood Farm Initiative
Category: General News Recipes
By Bea Trickett
Some of you may remember Jamie, who was NFI’s volunteer coordinator back in the summer of 2009. Her family maintains a “large garden” at their home in Vermont, which is probably at least double the land area NFI calls our urban farm. It currently boasts half an acre of garlic alone! When she was living in DC, her family was always sending her these delicious homemade treats – sundried tomatoes, venison jerky, and my personal favorite – dried apple rings. I asked Jamie’s mom for the recipe, and she linked me to her husband Steve’s page devoted to the making of dried apple rings. I didn’t realize it was such an art that you could feature a whole photo gallery of apple rings, but they’re beautiful! I tried to emulate, and ended up with a totally different but equally delicious product: apple-half-rings.
First task was to find a great deal on apples. I went to Riverdale Park Farmers’ Market, which is my favorite market close to where I live. I talked to a couple of farmers and explained that I was looking for a large number of apples for a preservation project. I was thinking I’d get a half-bushel crate of 2nds for $25 or something. A nice farmer lady sold me that many fresh Jonathan apples for only $10 – a crazy deal!!! It wasn’t until I got them home that I realized quite the task I had ahead of me: it was Thursday night, and on Friday I was hosting a DJ’d dance party, followed by Saturday morning I would get on a plane to visit family in England for 10 days! I had a helluva lot of apples to process, and had to get it done before I left town!
Enter Stephanie. She came up for our party with DJ Kyle Precise from Newport News, VA and was really excited about these apples. I showed her the apple corer that I just bought from Value Village for $2 – she said she had just seen one for sale for over $30! (here) My goal is pretty much always to make something as cheap/affordable as possible – which usually takes a lot more time. So you could refer to Steve’s page on how to slice/core/partially-peel the apples by hand – or try to get lucky and find a used corer – or spend $30 on this tool you’ll probably use once a year.
Anyway, back to the apple rings. Here’s a photo gallery of our process
I’ve outlined our apple-ring-drying process below. But also check out Steve’s site for more info, he’s been making apple rings way longer & so he explains each step a bit more in depth. Have fun!!
STEP ONE: Make the apples into thin, ring-like slices – with or without peel, but definitely without cores.
STEP TWO: Pour equal amounts cheap red wine (aka Carlo Rossi) and orange juice in a large bowl, add some lemon juice and maple syrup for tartness and sweetness – to your taste. On his site, Steve lists a whole slew of other liquids you could add, feel free to experiment to see what you like!
STEP THREE: Put the apples on the dehydrator trays. Now I was lucky here too – because I got a food dehydrator for Christmas. It was a gift, so I can’t look up how much it cost to tell you but I know they come in a wide range of prices and styles. You can also make your own solar dehydrators, this website has a lot of different versions from simple to complex, large to small.
STEP FOUR: Add cinnamon sugar if you want
STEP FIVE: Turn the food dehydrator on and wait. Or rather, go do something else and come back to check on it. Drying time varies by make & model, but ours took between 4-4.5 hours depending where you wanted the rings on the chewy-to-crispy scale.
STEP SIX: Allow to cool in a colander before storing in airtight jars or ziplocs. If you add them right away, residual moisture will allow mold to grow & then it’ll all just be a time-consuming addition to your compost pile. So don’t skip this step!
STEP SEVEN: Eat em up!!!!