Behind the well-worn cliché there is more than a just a sliver of truth, but you must eat the whole apple, skin and all to get the full prebiotic benefits. The humble apple is anti-inflammatory, high in anti-oxidants, loaded with vitamin C and has a unique fibre that is good for your gut. This special type of fibre is found in apple pectin – a water-soluble fibre that is heralded for cleansing your insides. The pectin in apples also helps feed the healthy bacteria in your gut to promote better gut and overall health.
Many of the antioxidants found in apples are delicate and will be destroyed under high temperatures, so apart from eating a fresh, raw apple, drying apples in a food dehydrator is the best form of nutrient preservation. At a low, slow temperature, dehydrated apples retain their full, raw, nutritional status and they can be stored for months on end without spoiling.
Sadly, apples are one of the most chemically sprayed fruits so it's preferable to use organic if you can, especially when consuming the skin. A combination of red and green apples looks very pretty, and it's a lot of fun sampling different apple varieties.
Apples, naturally begin to go brown soon after they have been cut and red varieties tend to go brown quicker than green. Homemade dehydrated apple will not turn out as soft or pliable as store bought dried apple rings. Why? Because most commercial dried fruit have preservatives added to hold in moisture and prevent oxidisation, (the browning process). To avoid browning, follow the recommendations in this fruit pretreatment chart. We skipped this step because we are using green apples. As you can see from the photos our dehydrated apple slices have barely discoloured.
We use a mandolin to get uniform slices. De-coring the apples is optional. We sliced our apples completely whole, seeds and all and found the seeds fall out during the drying process anyway.
1-2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1. Remove the stems then wash and dry the apples.
2. Slice the apples approx. 3 - 4 mm thick
3. Lay the apple slices out on the food dehydrator trays so that they are not over-lapping and air flow is maximised.
4. Dust the slices with cinnamon powder – I use a fine sieve and coat only one side.
5. Stack the trays then switch the dehydrator on to the lowest setting; around 55 degrees Celsius (130 degrees Fahrenheit) for 12 hours. Check in on the fruit every few hours if they are not fully dehydrated after 12 hours.
6. If sealed airtight and stored in a cool, dry place, dried apples should keep up to 6 months. For longer storage, vacuum seal or keep in the freezer.
It can be tricky to tell if the apple is adequately dry while it is still warm. Take a few pieces out of the dehydrator and wait for them to cool. Pieces should feel dry without any tackiness. Tear a slice in half to see if there is any moisture on the inside. The perfectly dried apple chip should still be flexible and doesn’t snap or break when you bend them. If you’re planning on storing the apple chips for weeks or months, it is best to over-dry rather than under-dry them. Moisture left in the apples can trigger mould growth while in storage.