Snack Mastered! Oven-Dried Apple Rings Are a Sweet Hunger Solution
’Tis the season when grocery stores and farmers markets are overflowing with a cornucopia of juicy, delicious apples. And a great way to savor those fabulous fall flavors? Try these super easy oven-dried apple rings (full recipe below) that are just right for active, growing wee ones in need of a tasty, healthy snack. The rings only require three ingredients and about 10 to 15 minutes of actual work in the kitchen! Then you can leave them in the oven while you read stories, build a living room fort, perfect your Play-Doh® sculptures, and giggle together until your bellies hurt—you know, the important stuff.
Could your shopping list for this addictive snack be any simpler?! You can even skip the lemon juice and cinnamon if you don’t have them on hand. Experiment with several varieties of apples to see how the flavors of the dried rings differ. For instance, Granny Smiths yield a tasty tartness, while Honeycrisp rings are milder, which really showcases the spice.
Chewy and naturally sweet, dried apple rings make a great any-time snack, whether you’re hanging at home or cruising down the road.
In our centers, we embrace family-style eating—encouraging children to serve themselves teaches them important social skills (like passing items, sharing, being patient, saying “please” and “thank you”) and how to listen to their own hunger cues. Allowing them to get in on the serving action can also inspire them to try new foods—like yummy dried apple rings instead of the usual raisins.
Fuel some quality playtime by setting out bowls of dried apple rings along with other healthy snacks like veggies and hummus, cheese sticks, and ants on a log. Dried apple rings also make an excellent add-your-own-topping for bowls of yogurt or oatmeal at breakfast.
We love the flavor, texture, and nutrition that comes with leaving the apple peels on. Even dried peels pack a healthy dose of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber—and that’s something to grin about! But if you opt to remove them before you get cooking, consider these other uses for the scraps.
OVEN-DRIED APPLE RINGS
* Recipe adapted from the Getty Stewart blog.
Yields: 5 apples worth
Total time: 15 minutes prep/5 to 8 hours cooking
- 5 apples
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon (or other spices)
- Wash and core the apples—you can use an apple corer or follow these instructions for coring an apple using a knife. You can also peel your apples first, if you prefer.
- Slice the apples thinly and evenly, about 1/4 inch thick. Using a mandoline can make the process faster and easier (the pieces will be more uniform), but isn’t necessary.
- To prevent the rings of raw apple from browning, dip them in a solution of 1/4 cup lemon juice mixed with 1 quart of water. Pat them dry.
- Sprinkle the slices with a light dusting of cinnamon and then arrange them on wire baking or cooling racks.
- Place the racks in the oven and set the temperature to 150 degrees (or the lowest temperature setting possible). Prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon to allow air to circulate and moisture to escape the oven.
- Bake the apples for 5 to 8 hours—the time will vary based on your oven, the temperature, humidity levels, apple varieties, slice thickness, etc. Simply keep checking the rings often to see when they are done (i.e., the rings shouldn’t have any moisture left). You’ll know they’re done when the slices feel dry and leathery without any tackiness and, when they’re torn in half, will look like a dense, dry sponge.
- Remove the dried apples from the oven and allow them to cool for a few hours. Place them in an airtight bag or container and store in a cool, dark place for up to three months. If you think the apples may still have moisture in them, store them in the freezer instead to prevent rotting.