Use up the fall harvest of apples and make tasty, healthy Homemade Apple Chips for the family.
These tasty treats heated up my food dehydrator every fall when the kids were young. I took several years off from harvest kitchen work once they grew up. Then I worked out of the home for several years. During those years we didn’t garden and the apples were mostly donated to fund raising cider making projects in our church, or family members took them.
This year I’m home all the time, and we have several fully loaded apple trees. I’m processing lots of apples! The food dehydrator is back in business.
Dave keeps bringing in the five-gallon buckets full of apples and setting them down. I made Apple pie cheesecake, apple crisp, Caramel apple pie, Fresh apple cheesecake bars...froze loads of apple pie filling… I have an endless variety of apple desserts, but there are just the two of us now…I looked at this last bucket of apples a long time, as it sat in my kitchen, before a wave of nostalgia hit and I decided to make good ole apple chips and a batch of applesauce!
Home processing garden produce is almost a full-time job in itself! Our garden and greenhouse are producing tomatoes, peppers, garden greens, root crops, corn, and lately, our apple trees are full of apples. Yes, This is a busy time of year. I’m sort of looking forward to the end of it.
Our freezer is stuffed with salsa, dried tomatoes and peppers, grape juice, apple pie filling, various types of zucchini bread, fruits, and corn. The links I’ve included are useful if you’re looking for ways to use up your produce or want a few pointers on freezing, drying, steaming, juicing, or need a recipe for some of your garden treasures.
Drying apples into chips is a handy way to use up a load of apples and create an easy to store, winter delight for lunchboxes or after school treats.
Is it almost dinner time and the hubby and kids are circling the cookie jar? Set out a plate of apple chips. Hardly any calories and full of satisfying flavor and chewing to keep the family happy those few minutes before dinner is ready and a few apple chips won’t spoil their appetite!
Making Apple Chips:
Use any apple variety you like. The sweeter varieties will give you a naturally sweet treat with no extra sugar needed. Whatever variety of apple you use, make sure they are fully ripe before you dry them. That’s how you get the best flavor from dried apples. The sugar in the fruit is plenty if the apples are fully ripe!
- Leave the skins on the apples. The apples will hold better with the skin edge on. And so pretty!
- Don’t core the apples! They make pretty star shaped chips if you leave the cores in and most of the seeds fall out in the drying process.
- Wash the apples thoroughly (check for worms and bruises. Discard all nasty apples)
Cut the apples into very thin slices. You will only want to dry the nice, evenly round slices for chips. You can do halves or even quarter slices for breaking up later into snack bags with trail mix or using in homemade granola.Place the slices in rounds on your food dryer trays I use a Harvest Maid food Dryer (I’ve had mine for decades. Apparently they sold to Nesco. Follow the Amazon affiliate link to find out more about food dehydrators and related tools and books).
The dehydrator works best if your slices are pretty thin and evenly sliced. Mine were sort of uneven….so my dehydrator had to work overnight to really crisp them up!
Don’t have a dehydrator? No problem.
- Use oiled cookie sheets (Or put down parchment paper on them). Follow the oven drying directions in the printable recipe. This will take oven time, so this may be a great day for a crock pot or a stove top dinner like Chorizo Cabbage Roll Skillet Dinner.
- What to do with all the extra apple parts? I make applesauce. You will have parts of the apple that aren’t the right size or shape for perfect apple chips. I put a pot on the stove and throw the extra apple parts in there while I’m slicing the apples. If you’ve never made applesauce here’s a recipe for you!
Variations for Sweetened dried apple chips:
This includes dipping or sprinkling them lightly in a cinnamon sugar mix or any other spice you may enjoy with them. I actually prefer them plain! The natural sweetness of fully ripe apples, especially a sweet variety, makes added sugar unnecessary.
- If you are drying a tart green variety apple, the extra sweetness may be welcome. Mix up in a bowl, one cup of sugar and a tsp. of cinnamon and a tsp. of apple pie spice (to taste). Dip the wet apple slices in the mixture on both sides and lay the slices on your dryer racks or cookie sheet. NOTE: The sugar will make these stick hard to your racks and cookie sheets. Lots of oil and parchment paper recommended! Alternately, Just sprinkle the wet slices with a light dusting of the sugar-spice mixture once they are on the trays. This will lighten the sugar load and make them less sticky on the trays.
I did this for some of mine to see how it came out. They are fine….but I prefer our apple chips plain and they are much healthier plain. If your kids are young and not trained on sugar. Don’t Start them on the sugared apple chips!!! My kids ate theirs plain and loved them because their taste buds enjoyed the milder sweet apple flavor. A handful of plain apple chips is only about 58 calories. If you add sugar, they will go up in calories and carbs, so beware!
That’s really all there is to it! Wash, slice and dry!
Sweeten and spice to your taste and then you are ready to serve them up. My food dryer was always raided by the family when I made the apple chips. I could hear the lid come off and the trays being adjusted as someone chose a nearly dry apple chip because they couldn’t wait for the batch to finish!
Apple chips will last months at room temperature if they are crispy dry. They will absorb moisture though over time from the air, so keep them stored in a dry air tight container on a dark shelf away from heat and light.
Freezing Apple Chips:
Do you have a truly huge load of apples to dry? They freeze really well!
- After drying to crispy, place the apple chips into a freezer bag (I use gallon size).
- Squeeze as much air out of the bag as you can (squeeze it hard to compress the bag and really get the air out!Air oxidizes the apples, invites freezer burn and destroys flavor and nutrients)
- Label your freezer bag with the date and what’s in the bag
- These should last well all winter in your freezer