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Dried apples are apples that have been chopped or sliced and dehydrated. At times used in recipes, dried apples are often eaten as snacks. When sliced, they have a consistency and shape similar to potato chips but are sweeter and more healthy. Dried apples are often found commercially but can also be made at home.
Any type of apple can be dried, but chosen apples should be firm and ripe with dark spots or bruising removed. They may be peeled or dried with their skins on. Likewise, they may be cored or the cores can be left in the slices. Apples should be washed, however, before being worked with, regardless of peeling and coring choices. After washing, they are normally sliced very thinly in rounds or simply diced.
Sliced apples are often used for snack foods, similar to potato chips. Dried apples are healthier and less greasy than the typical fried potato chip alternative. Diced apples may be used as snack foods, but more often are used in recipes. Although they are not difficult to make at home, dried apples are frequently purchased commercially, in part, because if they are not dried correctly, their sweet taste can be lost.
To make dried apples, the apple slices or cubes are normally baked or placed in a food dehydrator. When baked, the pieces are arranged in a single layer on a cookie sheet and then baked at a very low temperature. Usually, dried apples spend two to three hours baking, but some versions may spend less than an hour in the oven. Since apples have a high water content, and drying removes the water, the volume of the apples will shrink as the fruit dries. Water content also varies, so the drying time and volume of the finished product will vary as well.
When apples are finished drying, they should be slightly flexible and not moist or sticky. Afterward, they can be packaged and stored, eaten immediately, or used in a recipe. They should be stored in an airtight container, however, and vacuum sealed if possible. Although they do not usually need to be refrigerated, they should be kept someplace cool and dark. Dried apples usually keep for up to nine months when stored correctly.
Apples may also be dried in a hot car. Placed on a tray just as if they were being baked, the apples can be set on the dashboard of a car on a hot day and dried by solar heat. They should be protected from stray bugs when using this process, however.
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