How to Make Dried Apples
I make an effort to eat in season – which is of course helped by the fact that I belong to a CSA and have access to a fantastic local market once a week – but I’ve been forcing myself to try to be even more conscious of it recently.
Of course, eating seasonally also means eating locally, and when we commit to eating locally we have to really start looking at everything that we consume. It means looking at the label of every single thing that you buy, because even if you are committed to eating in season and locally, there are so many things that slip in without you even thinking about them.
My coffee. Not local. But that is not a battle that I choose to fight by giving it up. Because I love coffee, and because it’s not a product I am willing to give up, I choose to buy from roasters that I know believe in a quality product that’s produced in an ethical manner. But that’s a whole other article.
Tea. Unless you’re drying your own peppermint, your tea leaves are probably not from down the road. Which is not to say that you need to immediately give tea up, but it’s important to be conscious of what you are consuming, and just like coffee, buy from companies that invest in quality products and pay producers fair prices.
Chocolate. Just like coffee, this is one of the things that is important to buy the good stuff.
Dried fruit. Have you looked at where those figs, dates and apricots came from lately? Depending on where you live, they can come from close by, but often enough they’re carted across the world.
Ah, dried fruit. That was something I was willing to tackle. I use a lot of dried fruit, figs especially, in baking and cooking, so I started to think about what a more local alternative would be. I looked to the overflowing fruit basket of apples. Dried apples it would be.
As it turns out, dried apples are stupidly easy to make at home – similar to dried citrus peels – given that you are hanging out near your oven and can keep an eye on it every now and then. And as long as you live close to an apple producing region, which I am pretty sure most of you Foodie Underground readers do, this is a local and seasonal friendly alternative to the dried fruits that come from more exotic locations around the world.
Apples (organic and from nearby, please)
Preheat the oven to 200°F (95°C).
Rinse the apples.
If you are lucky enough to have an apple corer, then core your apples. If you are like me and don’t possess such a thing, cut the apple in half (cutting horizontally as opposed to vertically from stem to base), then carefully cut out the seeds with a knife. Then thinly slice the apple.
Spread the apple slices out on a baking sheet, making sure that they are not overlapping. For reference, I can fit about two apples on one baking tray.
Bake in the oven for about an hour and a half, until the apples are soft and tender. How long you have to bake them depends on the thickness of the apples, so just make sure to keep an eye on them.
Remove and let cool.
Store in an airtight container.
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