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Making dried apple rings with a dehydrator

apple chips in mason jar

Working from home a lot I have a bit of a snacking issue.

When work gets difficult, when a design isn't working or when I have a daunting email to write, I pace about the house and often mindlessly snack.

I decided to come up with a solution just as our apple trees produced a bumper crop.

I love fruit - it is my most usual snack food - but the speed I eat it at is the problem.

I can easily get way over my five a day by lunchtime.

So I decided to invest in a dehydrator and see whether I could transform our apple harvest into a much nicer form of dried apple rings than you can find in the shops.

apple trees Snapdragon Studio

Our apple trees are pretty feral. I planted a selection of old varieties when we moved here 15 years ago.

I carefully selected them by pollination dates and sentimentality - we have Stirling Castle, Katie, and five others I can't even remember, though their names were vitally important at the time.

We planted them in the area around where the workshop is now, staked and mulched. Within a week they had been grazed to stumps by deer who merrily munched through the deer guards on the trunks.

apple slices in colander

Then, a couple of years ago I spotted bright red and green apples in the rough ground that links the workshop to the woodland and realised that the apple trees had simply grown on, warped and twisted by the attention of deer, but that they were happily fruiting away.

Most of the apples are half way between cookers and eaters - probably originally eaters but sharper than modern eating apples tend to be. To make the apple chips I gathered smallish windfalls.

apple slices being cut

I didn't bother peeling or coring them, just sliced them 1mm thick on my mandoline cutter (I just have a very cheap plastic one - nothing fancy but incredibly useful).

I love the flowery centres that the slices have.

apple slices in honey water

Then - to stop them discolouring - I put them into a bowl of water with a tablespoon of honey in it. You can also use lemon in the water but my apples are really sour so I went with the honey. They were just in there for the time it took me to slice up all the apples.

apple slices in dehydrator

Then I layered them up in my dehydrator - arranged so that the slices don't touch at all. My dehydrator is by Andrew James and I like its big rectangular trays - it does make a noise though so I have it in the spare bedroom rather than the kitchen.

I put the dehydrator on at 70 degrees for 5 hours - As the slices are very thin they don't take a long time to dry out.

apple slices drying

Once the apple rings are crispy, take them off the racks and store in an airtight box or jar.

apple slices

I got about 40-50 apple rings per apple, so hopefully that will slow down my snacking a bit. The apple rings should store fine for a month or so - it depends on how dry they are.

If you don't have a dehydrator you can bake the slices on wire grids in as cool an oven as you can manage. If you happen to have a 4 door Aga the warming oven is ideal - otherwise just put the oven on as low a setting as possible and keep an eye on them. They are unlikely to take as long and will be more 'cooked' but will still be very tasty. Baking them in an oven is easier if you cut the slices thicker to begin with - 2mm rather than 1.

how to make apple rings

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Before we came away I wrote a blog post about how I got stuck in a loop designing the garden. 
A loop of wanting it to be meaningful and clever, to be original, to make use of all my research into the kinds of prairie plants that survive in our climate. 
It meant that we were several years without a garden - looking out onto a rubble or black landscape fabric and weeds- until I realised that what I like about gardening is the doing, the pottering, the seeing things grow and harvesting them. 
I don’t actually like having a garden just to look at. 
The blog post is now up on the website - and I think the lessons learned probably stretch a lot further than gardening. You can read it by clicking through my bio. 
I would love to know if anything similar has ever happened to you.
Venice is all about light. ⠀
It hasn’t exactly been the best weather while we have been here - a lot of the days have been wet, mainly showery, grey, at times torrential. ⠀
Everyone says that it is the worst May weather that they can remember. ⠀
But the light. ⠀
Somehow it glows through - a mother of pearl sheen behind the clouds, a soft benediction - and makes every corner you turn into a masterpiece. ⠀
Today we head to Verona for the day and are promised sunshine - but I honestly don’t believe that Venice could have been any more beautiful in the sun. ⠀
How much do you want to know about small business owners?⠀
It is something that I ponder about a lot. It’s a balance between oversharing and ‘just’ being a business on here. This Instagram account is officially a business one but there always seems to be a lot of me in it. ⠀
There is also the effect on the actual business to think about. For I am not the whole of Snapdragon. ⠀
For example - at the moment I’m on holiday for a few days, yesterday’s post made that clear and my Insta stories have been given over to Venetian scenes all weekend. ⠀
But the business continues as normal - this embroidered herb cushion went into the shop, Valerie is packing up the final boxes of this quarter’s Studio Box subscription, Fiona is making and dispatching orders. ⠀
When I went to Myanmar in February business went dead - with more orders and emails in the 24 hours after I got home than in the 3 weeks I was away. It is something I need to address. ⠀
So do you like to see what business owners/makers/designers/writers get up to in their time off? Or would you prefer social media was temporarily abandoned or handed onto someone back at base? ⠀
(As an aside this isn’t about working on holiday -as most business owners will recognise the integrated nature of a small business life means that stress doesn’t come from posting a photo with a coffee in the morning or making notes of a new idea or taking the time to read a great business book)
Today it is my 50th birthday. ⠀
I’m celebrating it in Venice, feeling happy, loved, incredibly lucky and very, very much looking forward to whatever the next decades bring. ⠀
Euan took this photo on the water bus  yesterday headed out to Torcello for lunch. ⠀
It is a portrait of a woman anticipating good things. ⠀
What flowers have you seen bees on this year?⠀
🐝 ⠀
I spent half an hour a couple of days ago sitting watching bees work themselves around the cirsiums - this is one of the first non bulb perennials to flower in our garden so particularly precious for insects⠀
🐝 ⠀
There were also masses working in the wallflowers next to it - and in the broccoli that we left to flower. ⠀
🐝 ⠀
Next year we will hopefully be getting a couple of hives to put down in under the apple trees behind the cabin - a beautifully sheltered spot. ⠀
🐝 ⠀
I grew up with hives - taking them up to the heather in the car - and now that I don’t need to protect a crop of flowers from pollination (for once a flower is fertilised it fades so can’t be sold), we are finally able to get our own. ⠀
I have 4 of these cloches. They were originally from the show stand that I made for the Country Living Fair In Glasgow in 2005. ⠀
The event that really started my business in many ways and certainly changed the way I thought about what I’m capable of. ⠀
The event that taught me that being small is an advantage, not a handicap. ⠀
Now they are covered in moss- an effect that would have looked amazing on that original stand. ⠀
It looks like another beautiful sunshiney day out there. I am getting ready to write my Friday newsletter which is all about designing the garden and not being too pretentious. X. If you aren’t on my list already you can sign up via my bio.
What do you take with you to pass the time on journeys?

I’m travelling a bit over the next few days so have been packing my handbag with things to do- knitting, kindle, phone, headphones, purse. 
What would be in yours?
”When the gorse is out of flower, kissing‘s out of fashion”

There are always a few flowers on the gorse, bright against the grey - but now is peak yellow in the hills. 
It is a plant that fascinates me. So prickly, so dense and yet its history is so domestic. 
The wood of choice for bakers’ ovens as it burns hot without making much ash. 
Planted next to Scotland’s West Coast crofts for drying linen - the barbs holding the sheets better than a washing line in the gales. 
And then there is the smell - which genetically I cannot discern - but which I am told is pure pina colada.

About Snapdragon

At Snapdragon we gently guide you through bringing the changing seasons into your daily life, helping you slow down, so that you can experience increased well being, calm and creativity.

Through our communities, both free and paid for, through Jane's writing on the blog, through carefully hand crafted gifts and activity kits, and through our online and in-person workshops we aim to bring people back in touch with the rhythms of a seasonal life.

Learn more about why here