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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

How to Make Dried Apple Slices – Křížaly

Krizaly before baking
Doing some research across various message boards and recipes sites (of which some were translated from Czech); I found numerous methods to prepare dried apples. This dried fruit is a popular snack in the Czech Republic. There are many benefits to dried apples. They are healthy, lightweight, provide energy boost, and are an excellent way to preserve apples that might be on their way out or getting soft. I like to add dried apples to hot cereals or incorporate into dumplings. Homemade dried apples are also a heck of a lot cheaper than buying them packaged in the dried state. I enjoyed digging away on this topic as some websites showed the apples being dried next to a furnace or tented alongside a radiator for a couple of days! If I had radiators throughout my home, I think I would give this method a try. My furnace is enclosed in a very dusty room with too many spiders to count, so I decided to pass on that approach and dried the apples using the electric oven. The oven is a quick way to dry foods when a kitchen dryer is unavailable.
First thing I do is get three medium size apples. There is no perfect apple for Krizaly. Go with your apple of choice. Since it is being dried I would go with a less expensive type of apple such as a granny smith, golden delicious, or gala. These are perfect for drying. Drying top shelf apples such as Honey crisps or pink lady is just wrong as these sweet tender juicy apples will fare no better than any other apple in the dried state.
It is also a matter of personal preference if you want peels to remain or get removed. I decided to remove peel. I then cored the apple, as I do not want any seeds in my apple rings.
Take the entire apple and make rings approximately 1/8 inch thick and place in water solution that includes lemon juice (acid will prevent browning). Once all apples have been cut and submerged in water they are ready for drying stage.
Remove apples and place on towel. Pat dry apples to remove excess water. Place the fruit on parchment lined pan trying to squeeze as many rings as close together as possible. For extra flavor consider sprinkling cinnamon or nutmeg over apple rings. I my batch I used cinnamon. Heat in oven for 4 hours at 225 degrees Fahrenheit (107 Celsius); turning apples midway through drying. This baking process will make kitchen and home smell wonderful.

After four hours are up, turn off oven and leave apples inside to continue drying for additional hour. Remove from oven and place rings in container.

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