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Dehydrating Apples

Preparation, Drying Methods,
Rehydrating Hints
Conditioning, Storage

 


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PREPARATION

Peel and core, cut into slices or rings one-eighth to one-quarter inch thick. Peelings may be left on, however they tend to toughen during dehydration.

Fruits that are to be dehydrated are pretreated to prevent discoloration by oxidation, to keep a fresher color, to have a more pliable texture, and to help retain vitamin A and C.

Each of the following pretreatments perform a useful part of the dehydrating process and each has merit. Personal preference should be your guide.

Sodium Bisulfite:
Dissolve 2 teaspoons of sodium bisulfite in one quart of water and add cut fruit. Slices of fruit should be soaked for no more than 10 minutes. Drain and dehydrate. (CAUTION: Sodium Bisulfite can affect anyone with asthma, allergies or other respiratory problems.)

Ascorbic Acid:
Dissolve one tablespoon of pure crystalline ascorbic acid in one quart of cold water. Add cut fruit and soak for a few minutes; remove with a slotted spoon; drain well and dehydrate.

Lemon Juice:
Use one cup lemon juice to one quart water. Soak the fruit for no more than ten minutes. Drain and dehydrate. (Lemon juice is only one-sixth as effective as ascorbic acid.)

NOTE: After pretreating, the apple slices may be sprinkled with cinnamon or flavored gelatin crystals.

DRYING METHODS

Sun Drying.
This method takes 3-4 hot days (98-100 degrees F). Be sure to cover fruit with screen or cheese cloth to keep away insects. Bring in or cover at night to keep moisture from collecting. To "pasteurize" sun dried fruit in order to prevent contamination from insects, freeze for 28-72 hours.

Oven Drying.
This is generally the fastest method. The temperature should be no higher than 140 degrees, leave the door ajar; place a fan so it blows across the opening and carries the moisture away.

Dehydrator Method. The temperature should be 150 degrees for 2-3 hours, then reduce to 130 degrees until dry.

Fruit is dry when it is soft and pliable with no moist area in the center when cut.

CONDITIONING

To insure that sufficient moisture has been removed to prevent molding during storage, place the fruit in an air tight container for several days. Check daily for condensation on sides of container. If condensation appears, dry the fruit a little longer.

STORAGE

Properly dried and packaged foods have a very long shelf life. But for best quality and nutrient content, plan to use within one year.

REHYDRATING HINTS

Dried apples may be reconstituted and used in pies and cobblers. Here are some basic methods used to rehydrate:

Soak fruit in liquid. Various fruit juices, cordials and fruit liquors may be used.

Boil fruit in water. Add 1 cup water to 1 cup fruit. Use less water for a thicker consistency.

To soften fruit for cookies and cakes, steam for several minutes.

NOTE: Do not add sugar during first five minutes of rehydration because it will hinder moisture absorption.

* * * * *

Information provided by the University of California Cooperative Extension in Los Angeles County. For food preservation and food safety information in Los Angeles County contact the University of California Cooperative Extension at 2 Coral Circle, Monterey Park, CA 91755, 213-838-4534.


Copyright 2005 Seasonal Chef