You may have seen packages of these at your local upscale grocery store for anywhere from $3-$6, but did you know that with just 10 minutes of labor and a food dehydrator, you can make two bags’ worth for a buck? They’re sweet, they’re crunchy, they’ve got no added sugar or preservatives, and you can make them year round. They also keep well for vacuum sealing, and are a great holiday-season hostess gift when packed in a cellophane bag with a nice ribbon. Read on for the secret that makes them so inexpensive.
See this? “Reduced for additional value: slightly blemished, undersized, or misshapen.” Odds are, produce bearing this tag—or some version of it—lives somewhere in your local grocery store. If you don’t see it, ask. (In some areas they may even give you the stuff for free!) At my local Fred Meyer (Kroger), the bags live on a little wooden cart that appears in different places on different days in the produce area. Sometimes they have bananas, sometimes lemons, and sometimes oranges, but they almost always have apples, and they’re only $1 for 3 or 4, depending on size.
This particular bag had a couple of Opals (a crunchier Golden Delicious cross) and a large Braeburn. As is usually the case, they looked no worse to my eye than the apples that were out at “normal” price. I took them home, washed them, and sliced them 1/8 of an inch thick on a mandoline. (You could even use a regular sharp knife if you’re not too picky about some chips being chewy in spots.) Then I sprinkled them with a little cinnamon (price negligible, especially if you, like me, buy cinnamon sticks in bulk and grind them yourself) and let them sit in the dehydrator (I have this particular one*, which I love, and 3 apples’ worth of slices fill it perfectly) for about 6 hours at 135 degrees. By mid-afternoon they were ready, and instead of running out to the store for a bag of chips, all I had to do was take them out of the dehydrator and put them in a bowl! I’ve made these many, many times with pretty much every apple the store has ever sold, and they always turn out fine, so certainly don’t worry about the type of apple. Even if they are a little bruised or blemished, those are easily cut out if the price is right. (Especially so if the price is $0.) Enjoy!
*Dehydrators are also available at most kitchen lending libraries, if your area has one. Portland has two, information on which can be found here.