Apple harvesting season is near and it seems apple-infused recipes are only second to pumpkin spice infused recipes. It used to be that in order to make apples last through the winter, they had to be stored in a cool, dark, dry place for several weeks. Root cellars were dug under houses just for that purpose. Root cellars have their problems though. (Cellar spiders being the main one depending on who you ask.)
Other methods of preservation, such as canning and dehydrating, use higher temperatures that can destroy more than half the food value. If you have a home freeze dryer, preserving apples is so simple. Freeze drying does not shrink or toughen the apples, but retains the aroma, flavor, color, shape and nutritional content. Your apples will still look and taste fresh because, in reality, they still are!
The health benefits of apples? Some say they stave off everything from cancer to Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Disease. Assuredly the are extremely high in antioxidants, soluble fiber, and trace nutrients that are hard to come by otherwise. There is a reason for the old adage “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”
Here are some of our favorite ways to use freeze-dried apples:
- Sliced for pie – everyone knows this is the best way to eat apples. To freeze dry apple pie apples, slice them less than 1″ thick, freeze dry them in a single layer on the trays, then store in an airtight container until you’re ready to use them.
- Diced for granola and yogurt – if you haven’t had crunchy freeze dried apples in your trail mix or breakfast granola, you’re missing out. Freeze dried apples are intensely delicious and wonderfully crunchy. To use as a crunchy topping, dice apples and leave the nutritious peel on.
- Diced for quick breads and spice muffins – apple muffins and apple quick breads are the perfect afternoon companion for a cup of tea or coffee.
- Ringed for hot drinks – peel your apples and slice thinly, freeze dry on a single layer on trays and store in an airtight container. Float rings of freeze dried apples in your holiday hot ciders and spiced punches. As they rehydrate they’ll soak up the spicy flavors, so feel free to eat the decorations.
- Sliced for snacks – on their own freeze dried apples pack all the nutritional punch of fresh apples. Send them to school with your kids and pack them in your lunchbox. Sprinkle with cinnamon, brown sugar, or your favorite pie spice. (Whatever you do, be sure to try them with salty buttered popcorn on movie night. The sweet and salty combination is divine.)
Apples are exciting at the beginning of Fall, but when they’re the only fresh fruit left in the house they can seem a little boring by February. Freeze dry your apples in a variety of ways and you’ll find you can enjoy new and interesting flavors all winter long.
Questions do you just cut apples without putting anything on them to keep from turning brown?
Before Freeze Drying, you would still need to use a quick citric acid dip to prevent browning. Either citric acid sold to prevent browning or an acidic fruit juice such as pineapple or orange juice & I suppose even Limon juice in water would work too.
Which apples ? Grannies, Fuji’s, Honey Crisp. Etc
If your quicker you don’t. Just slice onto the tray and put them into the freezer to pre-freeze. No browning and no other flavors added to the sweet apples.
once the apples are re-hydrated can they be used the same way you would use fresh fruit?
I’ve 2 questions to you.
May I freeze sliced apples for pies?
Can I freeze stewed apples also?
Thanks for this kinda beautiful article.
Either can be freeze dried however watch the thickness of your fruit. Stewed apples would need to be sliced as you need it thin enough to remove moisture easily or it takes a long time to dry.
Do I need to peel them?
No, you don’t have to peel apples.
Hi! Would I store them at room temp and how long do they usually last?
If you stored them in a mylar bag with an oxygen absorber they will last for years and years (25 years). If you put them in a jar (like shown in the post) and snacked on the apples throughout the day, they won’t last nearly as long – because without a working oxygen absorber, the food is exposed to air and natural humidity each time you open the jar.
Does the harvest right freeze dryer do ok with cinnamon?
Can we cinnamon the apples first and then put into the freeze dryer, or should we sprinkle afterwards?
It is best to sprinkle cinnamon before freeze drying. That way the cinnamon will adhere to the apples. They are a great snack.
I put maple syrup. Vanilla, cinnamon and cardamom on mine and they are delicious.
before or after fd
How long does it take for a batch of pre-frozen apples to complete a cycle?
When we receive our unit will there be a booklet of information that will tell us how long batches usually take for instance meat fruits vegetables herbs etc?
My freeze dried apples seemed to start rehydrating minutes after being exposed to air. They texture was noticably different as I started to bag them. Is this typical in humid climates?
In humid climates we have found that it is best to package the food fairly quickly when removing it from your freeze dryer. Normally we recommend packing within about 5 minutes.
Is there a kitchen appliance that will either slice or dice apples the right size for freeze drying?
I use the Johnny apple peeler and corer. It also slices all at the same time. Once you pull it off the device, you make one cut from the top all the way down the apple and it’s all done. Makes perfect apple slices for the freezer dryer. My kids do it by themselves and love it.