Saturday, June 26, 2010

Dried Apples

Dried apple is one of the foods from my childhood that I really love. For me, it has always been a bit of a treat. Kind of like lollies, only natural. So when I got an Ezidri food dryer, apple was my natural first choice to dry. They come out firmer than the store-bought variety but just as tasty - if not more so. When we lived in Townsville I would buy apples just for drying, then bag them in little snack bags, pop them in the freezer, and pull them out whenever I wanted a quick and healthy snack. They don't need to be in the freezer, it was just a convenient way to store them in our sultry, humid climate.

I dried some apples this week. Sadly, they are not from my parent's trees. I completely forgot to have a go with the Golden Delicious during their season. I'm somewhat disappointed as it would have been interesting to see just what they taste like dried. But then we did have an awful lot of other things going on at the time, so I guess I shouldn't be feeling either surprised or disappointed. I will try and remember to do it next season.

Preparing the apples for drying - a simple process.

These apples are from the supermarket. They are Granny Smiths. I have found that they make absolutely delicious dried apple. I suspect that for dried apples, you want something full of flavour, so the slight tang of the Granny Smiths translates well into a full dried apple flavour.
They are amazingly simple to do. Simply wash, quarter, then slice apples into thin slices (as evenly as possible - mine always tend to vary a bit but the more even the better for even drying!). Lay them on the trays of the Ezidri, making sure that none of the slices overlap. Turn it on. Smell the divine scent of cooking apple all day or all night long. Drool. After about 10 hours turn it off and have a peek to see if they are done. A taste test now is absolutely essential! I am not kidding - there needs to be no squishy liquid in the slices so they will store well. Usually apples take around 10-12 hours to dry. Another of my favourites, ripe plantain bananas, would take 12-14 hours. Because of the long drying time it helps to be prepared and plan when to have the drier on. The first batch I did went in around 8pm, and came out around 6am when I got up to feed Munchkin. The second went in around 8am, and came out around dinner time...I just make sure when I am preparing them that I will be around to keep checking them for a few hours when I think they should be ready.

Apples all dried and ready to store.

I just love dried fruit. It's lovely to have that sweet hit with it actually containing some nutritional value, unlike with lollies (candy) and the like. I also find dried fruit to be an energy packed snack, lasting me well, particularly for its volume and weight. I can understand why it is a common choice among trampers (hikers)...lightweight and full of goodness. I just might try drying some other fruits next summer. Strawberries and raspberries could perhaps be interesting. Then there's the pears if we get a good crop. Yum.

What's your favourite dried fruit?

1 comment:

MaxineD said...

I did apples on a borrowed drier once and loved them - I used Ballarat, a cooking apple that we had growing in the back yard at the time - and they were a hit!!
Try drizzling lemon juice over the slices before you dry them and they come out really white :-)