Friday, 20 February 2015

Spiced Apple Chips

Variety is said to be the spice of life and it is never more true than with school lunches.  I am not a big fan of the good old staple sandwich so I am always trying to provide some new, interesting, and easy lunches that keep things varied.

This week I made dehydrated apple chips for a snack in the kids' school lunch box. I wanted to add a bit of a twist to just the plain sliced and dehydrated variety so I added some extra ingredients to the process to get a bit more flavour and zing.  These apple snacks are especially great as they don't require refrigeration and I don't get anymore bruised, spoiled, or half-eaten apples back in time for the end-of-day lunch box clean out!

4 cups of filtered water
2 tsps. of citric acid
2 Tbsps. honey
1 tsp. powdered cinnamon
1 tsps. powdered ginger
1/2 tsp. powdered allspice
1 kilogram of apples

In a large bowl combine and thoroughly mix the filtered water, citric acid, honey and spices.  The citric acid will prevent the slices from turning brown but it does add a mildly sour taste to the chip and I balance that out with the honey.  Look for citric acid in the baking aisle of your grocery store.

Next,  wash and core the apples.  I used a sweeter variety but any favourite type of apple will do.  Next slice each apple into 3 mm slices.  Remember that if you slice the fruit too thin then the slices will dry out to the consistency of paper so around 3mm is about right to get a chewy ring.

Lastly, soak the slices in the citric acid and spice mixture for ten minutes and then place evenly in your food dehydrator or oven. don't overlap the apples on the tray.  Set your temperature settings to a medium heat and dehydrate until dry to the touch and chewy; temperature and drying times depend on the type of dehydrator that you own.  If using the oven then heat it to about 400 degrees Fahrenheit or 200 degree Celsius and then turn off the oven; lay the apple rings onto baking paper and leave in oven until dried out and chewy.

This process can be duplicated successfully with pears, plums or nectarines.  The plums and nectarines need to be pitted and cut into quarters, soaked in the citric acid mixture for ten minutes but the drying times will take much longer.  If your plums are small then cut them in half.  This gives you a good sized piece of dehydrated fruit to munch on.  Adjust your drying times for stone fruit based on your dehydrator.

In the meantime, your apples should be chewy and delicious with a gentle kick of spice.  Store in an airtight container or bag.  These chips shouldn't last long!

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