In the interest of scientific research into what happens with apples when they are dehydrated, I conducted an experiment.
Actually, it was sheer curiosity that prompted the study–the apples needed drying anyway.
To proceed: 4 apples were cored and weighed before dehydration. Weights ranged from 7 ounces to 7.5 ounces. The apple slices were soaked for about 5-10 minutes in a mixture of lemon juice and water. This pretreatment helped to maintain texture and nutrients, and to prevent oxidation (the discoloration that occurs during the drying process).
Four dehydrator trays were used, with one apple per tray. This ensured a more accurate post-dehydrating apple weight. The trays were placed in the dehydrator according to the order in which the apples were weighed.
- Tray 1: 7.25 ounces
- Tray 2: 7.50 ounces
- Tray 3: 7.00 ounces
- Tray 4: 7.50 ounces
The apples were dried at a temperature of 135 degrees for approximately 13 hours. After dehydration, each apple was weighed again. The trays were removed from the dehydrator according to the order in which the apples were weighed the first time.
- Tray 1: 1.25 ounces*
- Tray 2: 1.25 ounces
- Tray 3: 1.00 ounces
- Tray 4: 1.25 ounces
*rounded to the nearest.25 ounce; actual weight was slightly less
On average, each apple lost approximately 16.22% of its original weight, with an overall loss of 16.24%. The 4 apples were divided into 9 small bags for easy packing in lunchboxes. They were stored in a crockery canister until needed.
Total cost of the apples at $1.99 per pound, cored: $3.64. The lemon juice added a negligible amount. Total cost of the dried apples: $0.77 per ounce.
How does that compare with store-bought dried apples?
There was only 1 brand to compare–surprising in such a large grocery store chain. A 2.5-ounce bag of apple chips cost $1.99, or $0.80 per ounce–a total of $0.03 less than homemade.
Before you exclaim that the saving is not worth the trouble of doing your own dehydrating, consider what you get for your money.
- Both the homemade and the store-bought apples were the Golden Delicious variety.
- The homemade apple chips consisted of apples pretreated with lemon juice and water.
- The store-bought apple chips consisted of apples; safflower, sunflower, and/or canola oil; corn syrup; sugar; dextrose; citric acid; ascorbic acid; malic acid; and natural flavor.
What’s in your lunchbox?
Disclaimer: Because the subjects used in this study were very limited, any conclusions may be inapplicable to other situations. Results will vary, depending on the amount of juice left in the apples, the brand(s) available for comparison, and the price of apples in your area.