I found another variety of crab apples which were there for the taking when I was in Toronto last weekend. More like radishes in size, they are a little easier to work with for slicing. So, searching for another experiment, I have Valerie to thank for suggesting this one. It had occurred to me briefly, but I was intimidated by the thought of the mess it might make. Knowing someone out there was interested in the result, I was up for it.
The result was far better than I expected, and the mess – not so bad after all.
First, slice the fruit very fine. I used the slicing disc on my food processor.
I put them in a bowl, and sprinkled sugar liberally on them to coat. Almost immediately, a sugary syrup formed at the bottom of the bowl.
I tried two methods of drying: in the dehydrator overnight; in the oven for about six hours, depending how thickly they are placed, and just how much liquid sugar ends up in the mixture.
The oven ones worked better, in that it was much easier to remove the sticky fruit from parchment paper than from the plastic trays of the dehydrator. For unsweetened dry fruit, I will use the dehydrator, but not with the sugary ones.
Place the slices (and syrup) on a parchment lined cookie sheet. I started the process at 225 F to let some of the liquid evaporate, then after about 15 minutes, turned it down to 175 F and left it about 6 hours. This will vary depending on how well you can spread it all out.
I did not let them get crisp at all – just dry enough to handle without any perceivable wetness, but still flexible (like a dried apricot or raisin). The ones in the dehydrator were a little dryer, in part because the syrup dripped down to the bottom tray. This accounts for the slight difference of colour.
Valerie, you were right. So much better than apple chips. They make a great snack on their own, – good in baking. They would be an excellent substitute for dried apricots in something like a tagine dish, and of course with cereal or trail mix for those who like the sweetness.
September 28, 2013 at 4:45 pm
But the dehydrator ones look prettier! How creative, Hilda. I wonder if I could form rosettes out of them apple slices, hmm …
September 28, 2013 at 5:03 pm
Thanks for the comment and the idea. I expect you could work further with them. The dehydrator ones perhaps look prettier just because they dehydrated a bit more – the oven ones could have stood a little longer in the oven.
September 30, 2013 at 11:11 pm
Looks good; unfortunately I lost my crabapple tree several years ago. I will have to start looking for a source.
October 4, 2013 at 4:40 pm
sometimes you can find a tree totally overlooked as in say a parking lot
and get tons of FREE LOCAL HEALTHY FOOD
October 20, 2013 at 12:46 am
You inspired me to pick my crabapples! I’ve made some sage jelly with some and am working on a batch of hot pepper jelly. I saved some nice big red ones for chips – I’m hoping that they might be pretty enough for Christmas décor.
October 20, 2013 at 2:43 am
Good to know they are not going to waste. I am thinking of making sumac jelly with some – we shall see.
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February 17, 2014 at 10:26 pm
Oh, these look great. I always use crab apples in jams and jellies, and now I have found some that are similar to your little ones in the photos. I pickled mine last year (also really excellent). I’m going back this year, and I’m going to oven dry the next batch. I really want to make those biscotti you blogged recently.
February 17, 2014 at 11:20 pm
I think all crab apples are good for cooking, and wish I had more varieties. I might have to plant some trees. They have such a good, strong flavour, they really are lovely to have in the winter. I made the mistake of leaving too many for the birds, and they were all eaten by the starlings in the fall, so now bohemian wax wings this year, and too few fruit for us.
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