I love autumn’s beautiful bounty of apples. I’ve made apple pancakes, apple pies, and applesauce. I’ve added apples to our smoothies. I’ve eaten many a lunch consisting entirely of apple slices and almond butter. And I’m eager to store as many local organic apples as possible until next autumn.
Which brings me to apple sugar. Yes, you can turn apples into a sweet brown granular substance that can be used like sugar in SOME ways. It’s certainly better for you than sugar because it’s made out of apple flesh and skin, still as packed with fiber and nutrients as the whole apple it came from.
If you’ve got an apple glut, this process can reduce a peck basket of apples to a jar or two of apple sugar by the next day.
I have not tried to use this as a substitute for sugar in baking, and don’t suggest it. Apple sugar is, however, excellent when combined with cinnamon and added to goodies. Try topping baked goods after they’re done cooking—sprinkle over still-warm cookies, pies, pancakes, or raisin bread. You can mix it in it right before eating yogurt, granola, or a nut butter sandwich. You can add it to smoothies and kefir. Experiment!
Apple Sugar Recipe
Wash apples well and allow them to dry.
Core each apple and cut into pieces, then add them in small batches to your food processor or blender. Add only enough water to allow the machine to reduce the apples to a smooth puree (hopefully only a tablespoonful or less for each batch). The more water you use, the longer it will take to dry the puree.
Spread a very thin, even layer of apple puree on your dehydrator’s non-stick drying sheets. (The ones used for fruit leather.)
Dehydrate at 140 degrees. It may take 24 hours or longer to reach the correct stage of dryness. Your apple sheets are done when they’re very dry and crispy, not flexible like fruit leather.
When they’re ready, allow the apple sheets to cool.
In a completely dry blender or food processor, grind pieces of your apple sheets into a powder.
Store in airtight containers. You may choose to store it with food-grade silica packs to ensure it remains dry.
Confession. I just so happened to have included pictures from a recent experiment making Pear Sugar. That explains why the fruit pictured at the beginning of the recipe, next to my knife, is not an apple and why the finished sugar is a little darker than usual. Hey, what can I say? We had a glut of pears from our tree that had ripened to perfect sweetness. As you might expect, pear sugar is quite a bit grittier than apple sugar. I’m sure we’ll still use it. Happy dehydrating!