Dehydrated Cinnamon Apple Slices
* This article contains affiliate links. For more information, please read my Affiliate Disclosure.
These dehydrated cinnamon apple slices are a tasty and nutritious snack to take along on a hike, hunt, camping trip or car ride. They’re also great rehydrated in oatmeal and baked goods or used as part of a homemade herbal tea blend! And the best part? They turn seasonal, organic apples into a delicious sugar-free, shelf-stable treat to be enjoyed year-round, and maybe even longer;)
The first time I tried dehydrating I pretty much fell in love. I remember using my oven to
dehydrate some orange slices to put in a homemade Christmas potpourri blend I made for family and friends a few years ago. At that time, I had never even considered the possibility of preserving foods by dehydrating them at home. But as soon as I knew it could be done, I was hooked.
The following Christmas, my mother-in-law gifted us the granddaddy of all dehydrators: The Excalibur 9-Tray Dehydrator. And it changed my life.
Today I dehydrate everything from apples and bananas to broccoli and kale, and I’m even playing around with dehydrating whole meals! Yes, Excalibur dehydrators can do that, and it’s pretty awesome.
Note: I am an affiliate with Excalibur, however I owned my dehydrator before becoming an affiliate with them and only became one because I love their products so much I would recommend them to anybody!!!
I haven’t written a lot about dehydrating yet because I wanted to really familiarize myself with the process before assuming I had any sort of authority on the subject. But after a few years of successful (and not-so-successful) dehydrating, I am ready to share my favourite dehydrator recipe with you today: Dehydrated Cinnamon Apple Slices.
These are seriously easy to make and pretty difficult to mess up. All you need to do is get your hands on some fresh, organic apples, peel them up, slice them into even wedges and toss in cinnamon. Then lay them out on your dehydrator trays and dry at 135ºF for around 6-8 hours (possibly a little longer if your slices are thicker).
Then you can pack them away in a Mason jar, Ziplock bag or any other airtight container for future enjoyment. These babies will be shelf-stable for at least a year, but honestly, dried foods last pretty much indefinitely. The quality might degrade a bit over time or they might get “too dry” to munch on without rehydrating them. But they really do pretty much last forever, which means they make a great survival food in addition to your home canned goods and other preserves.
Related: Sugar-Free Applesauce Canning Recipe
They also make a tasty, nutritious and lightweight snack to bring along on hikes, hunts and trips into the wilderness. And unlike canned goods, they can safely be stores in an emergency bag in your vehicle or bug-out bag.
They can be enjoyed dried or rehydrated, and they really do rehydrate almost as good as a fresh apple slice! I put mine in oatmeal and chop them up and add them to muffins and you’d never know I didn’t use fresh apples.
But What If I Don’t Have A Dehydrator?
If you don’t have a dehydrator, my first tip would be to get one. But I’ll talk more about that in a minute.
Your second option would be to dehydrate in the oven, although I’ve had mixed results with this method. If you do go this route, line a baking tray with parchment paper and set your oven to the lowest setting (often somewhere around 170ºF). Check your fruit every hour or so and rotate or remove pieces as you see fit.
The problem with oven drying is that a) most ovens aren’t able to be set at a low enough temperature to dehydrate without the risk of some burning or “crispiness,” and b) it’s difficult to dehydrate food evenly in a conventional oven.
But it can be done if you’re careful and attentive. Remove pieces that are dehydrated enough, rotate your baking sheet or individual pieces to make sure all pieces are dried (but not too dried) and check on your fruit frequently to be sure it doesn’t burn or get too dried out as over-drying can render fruit unpalatable and hard to chew.
If you are thinking about investing in a dehydrator, I definitely recommend Excalibur dehydrators above all other brands because it’s what I use and love. It’s also well-made, reliable, dehydrates evenly and can dehydrate lots of food at one time.
Related: Rustic Apple Crumble Recipe
But you can definitely go for a cheaper option, like this one by Presto. There’s certainly nothing wrong with other makes and models, but my feeling is that the Excalibur is a sturdy built machine that will stand the test of time, and I would rather invest in one thing that will last me a long time rather than pay less but have to trash and replace items every few years. Plus, the Excalibur comes with a one-year warranty on new dehydrators (90 days on refurbished models) so you know you’re in good hands should something go wrong. It really depends on how much you’ll be using your dehydrator though. Think about it and compare prices and models before making your choice.
Okay, enough “sales pitchiness” from me. (If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I don’t do that often. Only when I really REALLY love something:)
Back to dehydrated apples…
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A Few Quick Tips On Dehydrating Apple Slices
1. Make sure you cut the apples into evenly sized slices. I like to cut my apples into sixteenths as I find that thickness is best for dehydrating. But that will also depend on the size of your apples. If they’re quite small, or if you’re using, say, crabapples, then maybe slice them into eighths. Just make sure all of the slices are more or less the same width so that they dry evenly.
2. To prevent browning, submerge apple slices in a solution of water and lemon juice. The general ratio is 1 tablespoon of lemon juice for every cup of water. This will prevent oxidation, which is what turns apples brown when they’re exposed to air, and keep them looking fresh while you slice and process your batch.
3. Once all of your apples are sliced up, drain them well in a colander, then work in batches of about 2-3 cups worth of apples at a time, tossing them in a bowl with cinnamon to coat them. I just sprinkle cinnamon on until they’re evenly coated to my liking, but I find I use about a tablespoon for every 2 cups or so of apples. I like lots of cinnamon, but you may prefer less. Play around with it until you like it or even omit the cinnamon altogether! You can also add spices like nutmeg, allspice and cloves for a slightly different flavour. You can also add sugar, but I love that these make a sweet treat that is healthy and sugar-free with the added benefits of cinnamon (which has also been show to lower blood sugar).
4. Make sure they are completely dry before storing, otherwise they may mold. They should be dry but flexible and chewy. I dehydrate mine for about 8 hours, but I would recommend drying for a minimum of 5 or 6 hours and then checking on them every hour or so after that until they’re finished as drying time can change depending on how thick your slices are.
5. If you over-dry your apple slices, don’t despair! I once made a batch of dehydrated cinnamon apple slices and dried them for about 10 hours, which, it turned out, was a bit too long. They were still totally edible, but they weren’t as chewy and were too brittle to be enjoyed on their own (to my liking anyway). But they rehydrate really well in oatmeal, cereal and baked goods, so I reserve that batch for those purposes.
Set It And Forget It
The best thing about dehydrating is that there’s not a lot of science involved (meaning it’s pretty hard to mess up and even if something goes wrong -like it’s too dry- your dehydrated food is still safe to eat. It’s also a set-it-and-forget-it process. Unlike canning where you have to process for a set amount of time and remove jars from your canner to let cool, with dehydrating you can pop your fruit (or veggies or meat or whatever else) on your trays, set the time and temperature and then leave them there until you’re ready to store them.
I often dehydrate food when I am going away somewhere for a few days as I can turn the dehydrator on and leave the food on the trays until I get back without worry of it spoiling.
Okay, have I convinced you yet? Good. Now go forth and dehydrate! You may not become a fanatic like me, but you certainly won’t regret it:)