I keep trying to call them “apple chips” because it flows off the tongue and sounds pretty appetizing. The reality is that I don’t dehydrate them enough to get the crispy chip-like texture. I actually prefer them to be a little bit more leathery and chewy than “normal” apple chips. But then again, calling them “dehydrated apples” doesn’t sound good at all. It conjures images of grey-ish, tasteless flakes in a bag with some unnamed “de-caking agent”. Blech.
So I’m going to call them “apple chips”, even though they probably needed to spend a little bit more time in the dehydrator to really qualify as “chips”. Whatever. A pedantic adherence to truth in advertising is so bourgeois. This is my blog. I’ll call this shit whatever I want.
- Lemon Juice
In a medium-sized bowl, mix together a few tablespoons of lemon juice with some cold water. Just eyeball it. Peel, core and slice the apples. Dip the slices into the lemon juice mixture to try and prevent browning. Spread the apple slices out evenly in the dehydrator, and dehydrate them according to the instructions. You can change the time to get them more or less dry, according to your taste. I never had, but I suspect you could add some cinnamon or sugar or other seasonings if you want. You can peel the apples or leave the peels on. I tend to prefer my apples peeled, but I’ve done a few batches the other way too.
The recipe isn’t the interesting part of this project. The really interesting part is experimenting to find good apple varieties to dehydrate. Some varieties work well, others not as well. Here are the varieties I’ve tried so far, and how the resulting chips have turned out:
- Gala: Sweet, a little tart, and a good deep apple flavor that comes on slow. The chips are a little yellowish-brownish, but very tasty. The chips in the top container are mostly Gala and Jonathan. If you make enough gala chips for the whole season, you won’t have missed much. A+
- Jonathan: Similar in flavor to Gala, though a little less sweet and more tart. Very tasty, and great in combination with Gala chips. A
- Mutsu: Bigger than the others, and the resulting chips are a more whitish color. The big white chips in the lower-left bag are Mutsu. Mutsu chips are modestly sweet with almost no tartness. Mutsu chips are probably tastier than just eating a raw Mutsu. These go great in combination with Gala and Jonathan A
- Ida Red: Similar-looking to Jonatha chips, but almost completely flavorless and very bland. The chips in the lower-right bag are Ida Red, Fuji and Braeburn. D.
- Fuji: Very similar to Gala. The flavor is good, but not quite as good. B+
- Braeburn: Surprisingly blah. Braeburns are good for raw eating, with a sophisticated tartness and sweetness, but the resulting chips are in competition with Ida Red for the most boring. D+
- Arkansas Black: Great sweet/tart eating apples with a great crunch. However, they brown VERY QUICKLY. The resulting chips were an unappetizing brown color even after a dip in the lemon juice. The very dark ones in the lower-left bag are Arkansas Black. The flavor wasn’t as great as some other varieties. These apples are much better to eat raw. C+
If you have some Gala, Jonathan or Mutsu apples laying around, I definitely recommend you toss a few dozen in the dehydrator and make yourself a tasty snack that will last quite a long time in the refrigerator.