Jeff Flowers on September 30, 2016 1 Comment Table of Contents Nutritional Benefits of Apples How to Make Apple Chips in the Oven Supplies You Will Need Ingredients You Will Need Procedure & Preparation Recipes to Get You Started How to Store Apple Chips More and more people are looking for healthy eating options, but they also want foods that are convenient. Regardless of where you do your grocery shopping, most stores have one thing in common: snacks, and especially the healthier snacks, are expensive. We all know that fruit is an important part of a healthy diet. But, the fruit snacks that you find in grocery stores, supercenters, and even high-end food stores tend to get pretty expensive. So, the question then becomes, how can you get the essential nutrients, minerals and fiber that fruit offers, without breaking your budget or being a complete inconvenience? One way is to make it yourself. Let’s take apples as an example. The Nutritional Benefits of Apples According to the USDA, one medium-sized apple provides you with close to a fifth of your recommended fiber intake, as well as a decent amount of Vitamin C, Potassium and Vitamin B-6. The USDA also offers this informative fact sheet (PDF) to help you learn more about apples. It’s easy to carry around an apple, so convenience isn’t going to be much of an issue. But, what if you could make them even more convenient, while simultaneously extending their shelf life and making them more kid-friendly? This is easy to do with dehydrated apples. Once you learn how to make your own apple chips, you’ll be able to give your kids a delicious homemade treat that you can pack in their school lunch boxes or give them a quick, yet healthy, after-school snack. These tasty treats are not only nutritious, but they also have the potential to save you money. Assuming, of course, that you can resist the temptations of the vending machine or sugar-packed snacks. The process of dehydrating apples helps to concentrate their sweetness. The thinner the slices, the crispier they get. The combination of the delightfully sweet flavor and the crunch that comes from their crisp consistency elevates a delicious apple to a new level where it becomes a wonderfully satisfying and healthy alternative to sugar and fat-laden junk food snacks. The key to being able to make the crispiest and tastiest apple chips is figuring out what temperature will produce the best texture, as well as how long you need to keep the slices in the oven or dehydrator to develop the perfect texture without sacrificing their flavor. How to Make Apple Chips in the Oven Most recipes for apple chips that use the oven to dry them refer to the process as baking. It’s vital that you recognize that you don’t want to “bake” your apple chips. You’re merely using a warm oven to dry or dehydrate them. Fall is the best time of the year for apples. Choose apples that are naturally crisp because they will be easier to slice and dry. Fuji and Gala’s apples are among the sweetest. Granny Smith apples are tart. I would recommend going with sweeter apples like Pink Lady, Honeycrisp, Gala or Fuji. Supplies You Will Need: A mandoline or other device that produces very thin slices. A very sharp knife. A cutting board. Flat baking sheets. Cooling racks. A cooking timer. An oven thermometer. Parchment papers or silicone baking sheets. Storage containers to keep the dried apple chips in. Tongs to use to flip the apple slices. Ingredients You Will Need: ½ to 1 whole apple per person per serving Ground cinnamon (optional) Ground cloves (optional) Ground nutmeg (optional) Ground allspice (optional) Ground ginger (optional) Finely granulated sugar (optional) Lemon juice (optional) Water (2 cups – optional) Click Here to Buy a Food Dehydrator Procedure & Preparation: Preheat your oven to 200 to 250 degrees. Wash and dry each apple thoroughly. Remove any label before you slice them. Cut the top and bottom off of your apple. Using a mandoline or very sharp knife, slice each apple into the thinnest possible slices, making sure that each slice is approximately the same width. The thinner the slices, the better the chips. Remove any seeds before placing the slices on your baking sheets. You should be able to get about eight slices from each apple. Line your baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. There are no hard and fast rules about how long your apple slices need to be in the oven to completely dry out. This is going to largely dependent on your preferred taste and texture. Like any recipe, you’ll have to experiment to discover what you believe works best. If you want very crisp apple chips, you’ll want to leave the slices in for a little longer and, perhaps, flip them over during the dehydrating process. Your goal is to allow the heat of the oven to draw all of the apple’s natural moisture out. A dehydrator is specifically designed to accomplish this task. While it would be an initial investment for the dehydrator itself, this is an option that you may want to consider. Especially if you find a recipe that works and enjoy making your own snacks at home. Many people start with “baking” apple chips in the oven, as it is a method that they can easily accomplish without having to buy another appliance. 4 Recipes to Get You Started When it comes to making your own apple chips, the procedure and instructions listed above is all you really need to know to get off and running. However, to help get you started, I have summarized a few of my favorite recipes below. All of these recipes have their own unique twist that are worth trying out. 1. Martha Stewart’s Apple Chip Recipe Martha Stewart uses a purist’s approach to making apple chips. This recipe will closely resemble the method listed above. Her focus is on dehydrating each chip to ensure that they develop the desirable crispness. Choose apples that are naturally sweet and crunchy. Fall is the optimal time for Honeycrisp apples. Fresh Pink Lady apples are always sweet and crisp, so they’re also an outstanding option. Preheat your oven to 225 degrees. After using the mandoline to slice your apples so that each soon-to-be-chip is no more than an eighth of an inch thick, lay them out on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Make sure that every slice is fully exposed and that there are no overlapping of slices. Place the baking sheets in the oven and set the timer for 90 minutes. After this time has passed, pull your baking sheet out of the oven and use your tongs to turn each slice over. Put back in the oven for at least another hour. View full recipe and procedure on MarthaStewart.com 2. Sweet & Cinnamon Granny Chips Take each apple slice and place it on the baking sheet. It’s okay if the slices are close together, but they shouldn’t overlap because that will prevent the part of the apple that’s covered from dehydrating properly. Place the apple slices in the oven for at least an hour. During that time, the heat of the oven should completely dehydrate the slices. If you want to add flavor to your apple chips, you can make a cinnamon and sugar mixture to sprinkle over the apples before you put them in the oven. If you go this route, it is recommended that you turn them once one side is dry and crisp. Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on the other side, and return your baking sheets to the oven for another hour. After two hours, if both sides of your apple chips are brown and crisp, turn off the oven and let them sit inside the warm oven for another hour or so. Or, if you think they are crisp enough, take them out and lay each apple chip on a cooling rack. Once again, make sure that the chips don’t overlap at all. View full recipe and procedure on AllRecipes.com 3. The Paleo Twist Squeeze several lemons so you have enough lemon juice in a bowl to coat each apple slice before you place it on the baking sheet. Sprinkle each slice with cinnamon. Preheat your oven to 220 degrees. Set your timer for one hour. If the side of your apple chips that faces up is dry, flip each chip over and sprinkle with cinnamon to meet your taste. Return your baking sheets to the oven for another hour. You can leave the apple chips in the oven for another hour or two after you turn it off. The heat from the oven will continue to aid the dehydrating process. View full recipe and procedure on PaleoLeap.com 4. Savory Simple Syrup One of the many variations on the simple recipes for apple chips suggests dipping each slice into a flavored syrup prior to placing them on the baking sheets. This particular recipe calls for the use of “Simple Syrup,” a syrup that’s made of equal parts of water and sugar. If you want to coat your apple slices with the simple syrup, use a larger pan than you need. Combine 2 cups of granulated sugar with two cups of water. Turn the burner up to the highest setting to bring the ingredients to a rapid boil, stirring the mixture continuously to make sure that the sugar is completely dissolved. Once the syrup starts to boil, turn the burner off. Allow the syrup to cool while you’re preparing your apple slices. For this recipe, you’ll want to adjust your mandoline to a setting that will yield slices that are half as thick as the other recipes recommend. Each apple chip should be 1/16-inch thick. When all of your apples are shaved, carefully remove any seeds or hard remnants of the core. Put all of your thinly cut apple slices in the pot of simple syrup. Allow the slices to soak up the syrup for 10 or 15 minutes, occasionally stirring to make sure that every slice is evenly coated. Be gentle as you stir the syrup. You don’t want to break any of the apple slices. Use tongs to remove each apple slice one by one and place them on the parchment-lined baking sheets. Make sure that each slice is fully exposed. Use both racks in your oven and place one sheet on each rack. Bake your chips in their current position for about 30 minutes. Then remove the baking sheets and alternate oven position. Keep doing this for 30-minute intervals until your apple chips are crisp and dry. View full recipe and procedure on Instructables.com How to Store Your Homemade Apple Chips Store your apple chips in an airtight container that won’t produce condensation or let in any moisture. Keep the container in the refrigerator. If stored properly, you should expect your apple chips to stay fresh for at least a week or two. Some chefs believe that when you immerse thin apple slices in a pot full of boiling simple syrup, the apple pieces absorb some of the sugary sweetness which helps draw moisture out as you dry the chips in a warm oven. If you use Granny Smith apples, which are probably the tartest of all apple varieties,you may want to consider using a simple syrup to bring out the true flavor while adding a touch of sweetness. Understand that there is an enormous variation in oven temperatures from manufacturer to manufacturer and in different locations. All of these variables will also contribute to the length of time it takes to get your apple chips to the crispness of your liking. It doesn’t take much equipment to make this tasty snack. Other than the oven, the most important things to have are baking sheets, either parchment paper or reusable silicone baking mats, and a mandoline that is adjustable so you can slice the apples to any thickness you want. If this is a hobby you plan on pursuing, we would recommend getting a dehydrator to help you reap the full benefits and make it even easier for you. If you’re just starting to dabble with dehydrating, be sure to start with thin slices and make sure you turn your apple slices over. Making your own apple chips at home is a rewarding family project that will not only help your children develop an interest in the food they eat, but it may just teach them that healthy food isn’t so icky after all.