This summer has been focused on freezing and dehydration programs, as part of our line of food preservation classes from UI Extension. The National Center for Home Food Preservation is a great resource for information on freezing and drying foods.
If you still have summer crops giving their last, consider drying those for use in recipes this fall and winter.
- See information drying tomatoes from July's post.
- From 4-H Food Shows this year, I was pleased to see seasonal dehydration projects entered. Dried peaches are tasty!
Moving into fall, we get a new batch of foods to dry. This post is going to focus on apples, but feel free to use the National Center for Home Food Preservation to learn how to dry other fall fruits and veggies.
See some tips for drying apples.
- Keep the peel on. Directions for a dried apple are fairly simple: wash, slice thinly, add a prep step like a citric acid solution, and dry. Leaving the skins on keeps in added nutrition and saves you time - since you do not peel them. (One batch of red apples I kept the peels on turned a pretty rose color.)
- Expect browning. Cut apples oxidize and turn brown when exposed to air. Adding lemon juice, a citric acid solution, or even blanching in water limits how much apples turn brown. At home, be aware that these options do not prevent all browning the way commercial dried apples may.
- Try apple leather. Even applesauce can be dried and turned into a fruit leather. Make your own applesauce or used purchased applesauce (preferably unsweetened varieties). Add sweet spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, or cardamom to flavor the leather like apple pie.
- Cook with dried apples. Dried apples do not have to be eaten only in trail mix or as a snack. Try some recipes that cook with dried apples.
Today's post was written by Caitlin Huth. Caitlin Huth, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian and Nutrition & Wellness Educator serving DeWitt, Macon, and Piatt Counties. She teaches nutrition- and food-based lessons around heart health, food safety, diabetes, and others. In all classes, she encourages trying new foods, gaining confidence in healthy eating, and getting back into our kitchens.