Dehydrator Review

Rewind a year to a summer with no fruit on any local trees and boy were we annoyed. A fancy new dehydrator sitting there, and paying $5/pound for organic apples at Whole Foods in order to give it a test drive. This year is quite the opposite in terms of fruit; more free, organic fruit than we can possibly pick, so our dehydrator that runs every few days. Mainly we have been dehydrating apples, which are very easy and turn out to be a great snack, for both big and small people.
They are so easy, there really isn’t a recipe, but two tricks we have learned are to make sure the apples are cut a consistent thickness and soak them in a lemon juice/water mix to avoid having them turn brown. To make sure the slices are all the same thickness we have been peeling them (I know peels are healthy, but they don’t dry consistently along the skin if they aren’t peeled. Plus we compost the peels!). After peeling, use a coring tool that cuts the core out of the apple, leaving cylindrical core. Then slice the apples about 1/8″ thick perpendicular to the core, leaving an “O” shaped slice. Dunking them in lemon juice/water is pretty self-explanatory, not even sure how much juice to water to use, but a couple glugs of juice per medium sized bowl seems to work well. No matter how hard I try to keep the slices the same thickness, they are always dry at slightly different rates, so check them periodically and remove the dry slices before they get crispy. I think these apples taste as good as the store-bought variety, but I know where they came from, and the price is right too!
Once dry, keep the bulk of the dried fruit in the refrigerator to maximize shelf life. This simple workflow applies to most fruits, just ask Google whether the lemon juice bath is necessary.
Another fun (or boring depending on age) product that can be easily produced in a dehydrator is fruit leather. It involves a bit more work, as it requires making applesauce from the apples, then drying. It is another tasty, healthy snack, but is also the subject of another blog post.

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