The high winds that battered the British Isles last week will have dislodged most of the apples that were still lingering on the trees. If you have had your fill of apple pie and crumble for the year; your cupboards are groaning with jars of home-made chutney; and your friends and neighbours are politely turning down your offers of free apples you may be wondering what to do with this latest haul of windfalls.
Dried apples are a good way to use up excess apples and are easy to produce. They make a great snack for children as well as adults and work well with any variety of apple. At Orchard Origins we use a food dehydrator to make them but a domestic oven works just as well.
* Preheat the oven to its lowest setting. If you have an Aga use the coolest oven.
* Fill a mixing bowl with water and add the juice of a lemon or 1/2 tsp of ascorbic acid. Soak the slices for 30 minutes to prevent the apples from browning.
* Lay the slices in a single layer on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
* Place in the oven.
* The apple slices will take between 10 to 20 hours so an option is to leave them in the oven overnight. The slices need to be turned at least once. Continue baking until the apples are soft dried but still pliable or even longer for apple chips.
* If you want to speed up the process set the oven to 200F/90C and bake for an hour. Turn the slices over and cook for another hour to 1 hour and a half. The timing will depend on the water content of the apples, the thickness of the slices and the oven so check periodically. Turn the oven off and leave the apple slices in the oven until it has cooled down.
* The apple slices can be stored in an airtight container or frozen.