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.
With all this healthy fibre, apples score low on the glycemic index, meaning they slowly unleash their sugar into the bloodstream. This makes dehydrated apple chips the perfect portable pick-me-up snack that will satisfy your sweet tooth without contributing to uncontrollable sugar cravings.
Many of the antioxidants found in apples are delicate and will be destroyed under high temperatures, so apart from eating a fresh, whole raw apple, dehydration is the best form of nutrient preservation. At a low, slow temperature, dehydrated apples retain their full, raw, nutritional status and they can be storable for months on end without spoiling.
Homemade dehydrated apple will not turn out as soft or pliable as store bought dried apple rings. Why? Because most store-bought dried fruit have preservatives added that stop fruit from going brown, to hold in moisture and keep them from drying out. Commercially dried fruit have also been dried at a higher heat and have lost much of their nutritional value anyway. The sugar content is amplified while the level of nutrients is depleted.
Sadly, apples are on the ‘Dirty Dozen’ list of most chemically sprayed fruits and veggies so it is imperative to use organic, especially when consuming the skin. I prefer using Granny Smith apples because they aren’t too sweet. Keep in mind the drying process intensifies the natural sugars of any apple you choose. A combination of red and green apples looks very pretty, and it is a lot of fun sampling different apple varieties.
Depending on the size of the apples, 6-8 apples fill the trays of a Luvele food dehydrator. I use a mandolin to get uniform slices. De-coring the apples is optional. I slice my apples completely whole, seeds and all and find the seeds fall out during the drying process anyway. I love the little star formation created, where the seeds once were.
Apples can also be chopped small for other uses. Why not add dried apple to our dehydrated paleo nut cluster muesli or sprinkled pieces on top of any of our homemade yogurt recipes. Any fruit, (such as apple), nut or seed that has prebiotic potential is wonderful paired with homemade probiotic yogurt.
Apples also, naturally begin to go brown soon after they have been cut. Red varieties tend to go brown quicker than green. Many dehydrating methods recommend soaking the sliced apple in acidulated water (diluted apple cider vinegar or lemon juice) to prevent this. I have found this step unnecessary. As you can see from the photos my dehydrated apples are not discoloured at all.
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, 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.