After getting hooked on dried apple snacks for several weeks, I went out and bought a food dehydrator about two weeks ago. I picked up a Salton DH1273 at Canadian Tire for $70 (ouch). It was pricey, but it was the only model available in the several stores I checked out (and they all sold for the same price).
I’ve been trying different varieties of apples to see which ones work the best for dehydrating:
- Gala (my favorite eating apple)
- Red Delicious
Of these, the Gala, Braeburn, and Cortland were the best. The Red Delicious just don’t have the best flavor, IMO, and the McIntosh — easily one of the worst eating apples — was too sweet and acidic. During and after dehydration, only a slight browning was apparent on all the apples except the McIntosh which, probably due to their softness, turned dramatically darker. It seems that a firmer apple with a middle-of-the-road sweetness and low-to-mid acidity is the best way to go.
But, wow, has this thing ever increased my fruit intake. Over the past week and a half I’ve eaten about twenty apples.
I also experimented with dehydrating banana chips. I didn’t let them dehydrate enough and tried one when it was still a bit soft. Disgusting. I threw them all out. I wasn’t expecting to like dehydrated bananas anyway, since bananas are a food I really only like to eat raw.
My attempt at dehydrating sliced strawberries was a disaster. I left the temperature on too high and they ended up baking. Soft, gummy-like strawberry slices with a toasted crust. Yuck.
To make the job of slicing apples easier I also picked up a StarFrit Tower Slicer and Chopper. This fruit-raping machine turns apples into slices of the perfect thickness for dehydrating. It also works very well for slicing potatoes, which are baking in my George Foreman Grill as I type. I call this fantastic new food “chipped potatoes”.
Sadly, after ten days of continuous operation, my food dehydrator gave up the ghost. The fan still works, but the heating element has died. Thankfully I still have my receipt.
And this with five trays of freshly cut apples sitting in it.
Withdrawal symptoms have already set in.
Somebody is going to pay.