September, much more so than January, signals the start of a new year for me. A clean slate. That warm familiarity of routine after a summer spent leisurely lapping up spontenaity alongside lighter, longer days. September is when it all begins once again: school, a new project or goal, the sweet return to routine and structure. The cooler crisper weather, more conducive for the welcomed nose-to-the-books attitude I desire after a summer unhinged, is exactly what both my body and my brain craves and it’s all I can do not to jump for joy at the first hints of fall. I mean I’m a Midwest American afterall, we are notorious for our love of flannel and pumpkin spice.
For a myriad of reasons, autumn is my favourite season of them all, and Rosh Hashanah: Jewish New Year, feels all that more perfectly timed because of it. With traditions of celebrating the incoming year with foods like apples and honey to symbolise hope and joy, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to play around with making my own oven-dehydrated apple chips. A nod to autumn’s flavours, my Jewish roots, a celebration of simplicity and a perfect throw-in-your-bag after school snack, not to mention a sweetly-perfumed kitchen in the process. For those with larger kitchens, investing in a dehydrator is probably a more efficient way to yield the same results, but for those like me who must consider each and every square inch or centimeter of counter space available before making such a purchase, this method easily solves the debate.
Jewish or not, I wish you a sweet year ahead – filled with hope, simplicity, anticipation, celebration, and something delicious to share with those you love.
Dehydrated Apple Chips
2-3 seasonal apples (or as many as you can slice and fit on a tray without overlapping)
1 teaspoon lemon or orange juice
3 teaspoons water
a sprinkle of cinnamon (optional)
Preheat your oven to it’s lowest temperature, around 50C or 120F.
Place a wire cooling rack over a baking tray – this will go into the centre of your oven so adjust your shelving if necessary.
Core and thinly slice your apples – the thinner the slices the easier it will be to crisp them. If you want a chewier texture, more like fruit leather or jerky, slice them a bit thicker; around 1/4 – 1/2 centimeter or so.
Combine lemon or orange juice with water and brush onto each side of your apples to help prevent browning, before laying apple slices onto your drying rack. Take care that apple slices do not touch or overlap, to prevent sticking. Sprinkle with cinnamon if desired.
Slide apples into your oven and bake for anywhere between 3 – 5 hours, depending on thickness and desired texture, periodically checking and flipping to prevent sticking to the wire rack. The slices will shrink slightly in size but should not brown. You can check for moisture by taking one slice out of the oven to cool and try, checking for texture and crunch after 10-15 minutes or so once completely cooled.
Once desired texture is achieved cool completely before storing in an air tight container. If completely crunchy, they should last for up to a week when kept in a seal-tight container.