Country Lore: Crunchy Apple Chips

Each fall, we make good use of our food dehydrator to preserve part of the harvest from our homestead orchard. We turn baskets of Italian plums into tasty pitted prunes and bushels of Asian pears and apples into leathery slices, perfect for snacking or baking pies. Our dried bounty lasts all through the cold winter months.

Normally, once they reach the leather stage, we call them good. But this past fall, one batch got away from us. Instead of our normal drying time of eight hours or so, this one was forgotten and ran all night. When we discovered it the next morning, our load of thin-sliced apples had been dried to the point of brittleness. My first reaction was horror!

A whole batch ruined (almost 15 pounds of apples, fresh weight). Not one to throw away anything that might still be useful, I popped a slice into my mouth and bit down. Crunch! “Wow! That’s not bad,” I thought. The brittle slice had the sweet-tart apple taste and the satisfying crunch of those snack chips I love so much. Next, I tested them out on the grandkids, who also thought they were great. Two thumbs up! We’re already planning to make more crunchy apple chips next fall — on purpose this time!

John R. Cumbow
Stanwood, Washington