Drying Apples, Using a Radiator, an Oven or a Stove

driedapplespj

I have always loved dried apples for their tanginess and chewy texture and even though I eat them regularly, I have never bought them in my whole life. My mum used to dry apples which were too wilted to be eaten or very acid, tart varieties offered by friends or family, who had trees going wild. Some fruits were even too bad to be baked, but drying worked like a magic wand, transforming them into flavoursome, healthy snacks. I have been doing the same for many years, but it is really nothing to boast about: dried apples are the easiest home-made snacks I know. Especially if, like me, you can dry them on… radiators.

My mum dried apples in three different ways: in the oven, over the stove and on radiators, the last method being the most frequent (and my absolute favourite). In fact, even though they are not often considered as such, radiators are excellent drying appliances in heating season: easy to use, absolutely free and not requiring our presence or much attention. Of course this will not work if you have floor heating or if your radiators have a drying-unfriendly shape (although you can always play with threads… see below). I have always been lucky to have drying-friendly radiators in every flat I lived in.

Drying in the oven is not more difficult, but it consumes energy and requires your presence at home (unless you are one of those people who trust electric appliances and leave ovens, dish washers and washing machines on when they go out; I have lost my faith in machines after a serious accident with a relatively new washing machine). Drying over the stove is probably the oldest fruit-drying method. It is also cost-free (unless you rarely cook), but requires preferably a gas stove and a bit more work beforehand because apple pieces have to be thread on strings or threads and placed above the stove.

Dried apples are very handy in a mixture of snacks served with drinks. They might be a nice healthy, slightly tangy accent among the nuts, crisps, chips or whatever you plan to serve with drinks during the approaching end-of-year parties. Obviously, do not mention that these snacks were a way of saving dying fruits from the bin and even less that you have dried them on a radiator!

TIPS: Whatever method you choose, keep tasting apples every several hours. This way you will choose the texture and dryness level you prefer.

If you mix several different varieties, dry them separately and put in labelled different jars. My favourite are acid varieties but many people prefer the sweeter, floury ones.

Preparation: several hours – several days

Ingredients (the final yield depends on the apple variety and on the dryness level):

apples (can be very wilted)

Peel the apples, core them and cut into thin slices (they should be 1/2 cm/ 1/5 inch thick; otherwise you will obtain crisps (or chips)).

You can cut the whole apples (this will produce slices with a hole inside) or if you don’t have the apple corer, cut the apples in quarters, core them and then slice each quarter.

———DRYING ON A RADIATOR:

Cut a piece of baking paper similar in size and shape to the surface of your radiator.

Place the apple pieces, making sure they do not touch each other.

If your radiators are very thin or have another form which doesn’t allow placing a flat piece of baking paper, you can use the STOVE-DRYING method (see below) and dry your apple pieces on threads hung on radiators.

Taste them every 4-5 hours to check the dryness and texture. I prefer my apples slightly soft.

Put the dried, cool apples in a jar with a lid. They will keep at least for a year (no need to refrigerate).

———DRYING IN THE OVEN:

Preheat the oven to 50Β°C (122Β°F).

Place the apple pieces on baking paper, making sure they do not touch each other.

Taste them every 4-5 hours to check the dryness and texture. I prefer my apples slightly soft.

The drying process can be divided into several days.

Put the dried, cool apples in a jar with a lid. They will keep at least for a year (no need to refrigerate).

———DRYING OVER THE STOVE (works best with gas stove):

If you have sliced whole apples and obtained doughnut-like slices with holes, put them on a thick thread and hang high above the stove.

If you have quarter slices (like the ones you see above), take a resistant but thin thread with a needle and, piercing every apple slice, put them on the thread. Hang the thread high above the stove.

The apple slices will dry while you cook, so of course this process should be divided into several days.

Taste them every 4-5 hours to check the dryness and texture. I prefer my apples slightly soft.

Put the dried, cool apples in a jar with a lid. They will keep at least for a year (no need to refrigerate).

 

 

61 thoughts on “Drying Apples, Using a Radiator, an Oven or a Stove

  1. A_Boleyn

    I love dried fruit of all types but they’re deceptively high in calories as you can eat a lot more of them than in the equivalent amount of the fresh fruit. Still, it’s a great tread.

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you, A_Boleyn. Dried fruits are nothing -calorie-wise – compared to nuts or crisps (chips) usually served with drinks and containing often some added fats. My favourite nuts are cashew nuts and I think they have twice as much calories as dried apples… It also depends on fruits because dried apricots or prunes are much heavier than dried apples.

      1. A_Boleyn

        That’s good to know as I was going on nutritional information I’d seen on those talk shows where kids lunches are planned/discussed and the little box of raisins or other dried fruit gets poo-pooed in favour of a crisp apple or orange.

        My favourite fruit to nibble on is apricots. As to the calories in fats … the claim is that they’re “good fats” that our bodies need. Maybe a nice combination of the two. I too love cashews and macadamia nuts and pistachios though I have to cut back on the salt. High pressure and all that. πŸ™

        1. Sissi Post author

          I meant the fats contained in salted nuts (which are coated in oil very often) and most of all in crisps (chips) and other oily snacks…
          Of course it’s probably better to eat a fresh fruit instead of dried (although dried has more fiber I think, so it depends on our needs), but I dried fruits are handier as snacks served with drinks πŸ˜‰

  2. Zsuzsa

    Sissi this brings back so many memories hanging them up on the strings over the stove and placing them on the top of a wooden stove… wow I haven’t thought of that for ages! I have certral heating so the oven drying would be the only way I could do this. I think I may do a batch, as I recall the aroma of drying apples are magnificent.

    1. Sissi Post author

      Zsuzsa, so you also know the stove drying method? My mum used to dry mushrooms like this too. What do you mean by central heating? Air conditioning? In Europe central heating is starting from the moment you don’t heat your flat or house on your own and apart from floor heating (which is now less in fashion because apparently it’s not healthy) I have never seen anything else but radiators in houses and flats.

      1. Zsuzsa

        Sissi in Canada central heating system provides heat in winter and cooling during the summer to the entire house. [be it a single dwelling or an apartment] The hot or cold air is distributed by forced air through ducts. Forty years ago typically oil fueled our furnaces that was delivered by the oil truck and fed into a large holding tank in the backyard, today we all have gas furnaces in our basements and the furnaces are attached to underground gas lines. Not everyone has air-conditioning during the summer as well as heat, but many of us do.

        1. Sissi Post author

          Thank you, Zsuzsa. I don’t think it exists in Europe (at least not in the countries I know…). I mean air conditioning yes, but not such a heating system. Your heating system must be more efficient and equally distributed.

          1. Zsuzsa

            The newer ones, at least in the last decade [ours is 2 years old] are all computer run and fairly efficient. Of course gas heating is surpassed by solar or renewed energy heating systems but these are few and far between, because they are still in their infancy and still too expensive to install. When they will become the norm we may see radiators too. But it will never catch on here unless it can provide uniform heat and/or cooling throughout the house. We are very spoiled

            1. Sissi Post author

              Here more and more people also have solar system, but this doesn’t change the fact that radiators distribute the heat. You must have your houses constructed with special “holes” for air to pass in the rooms too… I have it only in the bathroom and in the kitchen.

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thanks a lot, Jeno. Do you mean it’s always so hot in Texas or do you have air conditioning? In Europe everyone I know has some kind of radiators (apart from one friend who has floor heating).
      You can always heat apples in the oven. It’s very easy too!

      1. Jeno @ Week Nite Meals

        Sissi, I think most of the houses here have central air conditioning unit, this is why I am not familiar with radiators. I’ve often wonder how they function, does it get hot and can accidentally burn someone if a person walks by too closely?

        1. Sissi Post author

          It sounds very modern! Maybe it exists in Europe but I have never seen it (most people have radiators or floor heating, no matter where their heating comes from: individual system in the house, central building system for flats or central city system). Only offices and such have air conditioning all year round. You cannot get burnt of course, but the heat level depends on the temperature outside or on your own choice. I think the maximum is about 50Β°C (122Β°F), so drying apples is ok and you don’t burn your hands.

  3. ping

    Oh drat. I got all excited, thinking I can now do this without having to spend 2k on a dehydrator. And then I read “radiator”. Hmm … I don’t suppose this applies to a car radiator? In this region, that would be the only place to find one πŸ™‚
    Ah well, I do love dried fruits. And what better than homemade ones, without all those unknowns in it. What a quaint idea, drying this on a radiator!

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thanks a lot, Ping. Dehydrators are one of the biggest commercial traps (unless you dry several dozens of kg of fruits or vegetables or mushrooms every year). I do advise you the oven drying. It’s very easy and always works too. Lucky you to live in such a warm climate. I hate radiators because they remind me how cold it gets in the winter… At least they can be used as fruit driers πŸ˜‰

    2. Sissi Post author

      By the way… Have you ever dried mango? Here dried mango is quite expensive and so goood! I think I will dry it one day when I find some cheap ones. With your cheap mangoes you have lots of drying possibilities (and I also think here of the green mangoes! They must be fantastic when dried!).

      1. ping

        Yes, I have. We have a friend here who brings in dehydrated fruits from Thailand. I’ve tried a great many varieties and loved the pomelo skins the best. I’ve tried just turning them into candied pomelo skins coz I have no dehydrator and they taste absolutely heavenly. A real tough job tho getting the white pith out.
        We do get dried green mangoes. And they are mainly used in Indian chutneys. It has a flavor I can’t quite describe …. maybe bitter even, that’s if the skin is left unpeeled.
        Interesting tho I wouldn’t enjoy on its own.

        1. Sissi Post author

          Pomelo skins!!! Dried? It sounds very interesting. Not candied? I hate candied orange zest… I think I will dry some yellow mango one day. It’s very sweet so I will be able to use it as a snack. Dried green mango sounds like a great seasoning, but it’s too expensive here to play with.

          1. A_Boleyn

            Candied orange peel dipped in dark chocolate … yummy. πŸ™‚

            I’ve never made my own Indian chutneys. They’re too convenient to just pick up a bottle in the Indian grocery store.

            1. Sissi Post author

              It’s one of this things much much too sweet for me… candied orange peel dipped in chocolate is available at every chocolate shop here so i suppose many people love it.

      1. ping

        Eventually they get dried if they don’t turn moldy first. The humidity doesn’t help and the resident family of squirrels in my garden would probably enjoy them before I do πŸ™‚
        Honestly, I’d rather have things freeze fried than turning moldy and rancid before one has a chance of finishing it.

        1. Sissi Post author

          Haha! I cannot stop smiling at the “resident squirrel family”. I think in your case only the oven would work (even drying over the stove requires dry air).

  4. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles

    The good old radiator, eh? Who would have thunk it! I love it and was so intrigued by your title on the email notification….I’ve never dried my own apples (I don’t think) and I don’t tend to buy them either because the ones that seem to be available are hosed with sugar. So this is very welcome information because I’d love to incorporate more desiccated apple into baking the way I do with prunes, figs and dates. What a great idea for a post Sissi, thank you!

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you so much, Kelly. I think dried apples are rather not sweetened here, but the sugar and the oil (!) are the reasons I bought dried cranberries only once and stopped doing it, hoping to find simple dried cranberries one day. Unfortunately the fresh ones are too expensive here to be dried at home (imported from the US or Canada, so imagine…). Do try drying apples one day! I suppose you don’t have radiators, just like Zsuzsa πŸ˜‰ but oven-drying is foolproof too.

  5. Mr. Three-Cookies

    This is a really really good idea. I never thought of using radiators – brilliant. At the moment they are working hard because of the cold. Fortunately I have both thick and thin ones.

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you so much, Mr. Three-Cookies. It’s a method straight from cold regions where good radiator is absolutely necessary. I am glad that you have “drying-friendly radiators too. I am now drying some more apples. (I even dry them on thin ones, which have only 3 cm surface at the top). Good luck! I hope you will a new use of radiators.

  6. ChopinandMysaucepan

    Dear Sissi,

    I love dried fruit and my favourite are apricots and raisins but I know doctors recommend against it for diabetics because of its very high sugar content especially if eaten regularly as a staple.

  7. mjskit

    I try to use natural heat sources as much as possible. I place fresh herbs on cookies sheet and place on top of the refrigerator for a week to dry them out. I proof bread by placing it next to a heater vent. Drying apples would be more difficult, but I bet at 50C I could get that temperature by just turning on the oven light. Dried apples are one of my favorite dried fruits and I forget how easy they are to dry. Thanks for the reminder and the inspiration to do it!!!

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you so much, MJ. When I -rarely- bake with yeast (for example pizza), I also place it close to a radiator in the winter. 50Β°C is perfect to dry apples and control the softness.

  8. Katerina

    Unfortunately I have floor heating so I guess I will go for the oven! Drying apples is something I have never thought but it is an excellent idea and perhaps afterwards cover them with sugar and cinnamon would make them the perfect snack!

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you so much, Katerina. I bet you can dry lots of summer fruits in the sun since you live in Greece, but apples being rather winter fruits the oven is the best way.

    1. Sissi Post author

      Hi, Karen. Incredible! You could really spend the whole winter experimenting with different varieties! I hope you will try (unless you don’t like dried apples).

  9. Eva Taylor

    How clever, Sissi, I have rads in my house so this is something I could do. So simple. You didn’t soak them in lemon juice, I’m surprised that they didn’t discolour badly. They look absolutely delicious.

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you very much, Eva. Finally, one reader from Canada who has old good radiators… (It’s funny because I would never guess that I would learn so much about the North-American heating distribution system while reading comments under this drying methods). I didn’t soak them in lemon juice. They keep dark golden colour, but it’s not equal. I suppose if I dried them until they are no longer soft, they would become darker, but I like them slightly soft and chewy.

    1. Sissi Post author

      Lucky you! I would love to be able to dry anything in the sun at least summer fruits… I don’t think I could even dry strawberries in the sun… (summers are quite moderate here).

  10. Charles

    Hi Sissi – thanks for sharing the different methods of drying. I always wanted to give it a try myself, although I’d really like to try other fruits… I wonder how pear would work? I like a little bit of dried apple but I always find the texture so strange… like a mix between paper and sponge, but it’s fun to make these kind of things yourself. I have no radiators at home (only floor and ceiling heating) so I’d probably use the oven option… put it on at night. My oven is quite new and can be programmed to turn on and off by itself so if I was asleep I think it would be ok!

    1. Sissi Post author

      Hi Charles, I cannot advise you because I have never tried drying pear on my own. My mum did though. I can ask her if there are any differences in the “procedure” πŸ˜‰ For me dried pears are too sweet and they have this strange grainy texture… As for the apples, I love their tanginess and their texture too. For me it’s not sponge but rather something gummy… elastic. I like a lot chewy texture. I only don’t like when they are over-dried but I make sure mine aren’t. You can experiment with whatever you want really (though I find drying plums difficult and dried quince is not interesting at all as a snack: I tried last year). I also dry a lot of vegetables in the similar way. I’m surprised you don’t have radiators! I have always seen radiators in both new and old flats in France. They certainly don’t look aesthetic πŸ˜‰
      Oven drying is a very good option of course!

  11. Juliana

    Sissi, thank you so much for all the ideas to dry apple…now there is no excuse to not do it πŸ™‚
    Hope you are having a great week!

  12. wok with ray

    Dried slices of apples is my favorite snacks but unlike you, I never cooked them myself and I would like to try it. The only method for me is to use the oven or stove. Thank you for sharing different options in making these yummies, Sissi.

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thanks a lot, Ray. I’m glad I gave you this simple idea (which is frankly the easiest way to use leftover apples!).

  13. Nami | Just One Cookbook

    If I remember correctly, my first studio apartment when I was in college had a radiator. I forgot how it works or did I ever used it before… such a long time ago. I never had dried apples but sounds like a great snack!

    1. Sissi Post author

      It’s so weird because apart from floor heating I have never seen any other heating system here in private houses or flats apart from radiators. Dried apples are delicious because they have a pleasant chewy consistency and they are tangy too.

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