Dried apples or dried apple rings that have not been treated with sulfur dioxide are a healthy snack option between mealtimes. They are a rich source of many vitamins and minerals. While sulfur dioxide prevents the brown discoloration of apples during the drying process, it is not necessary for improving taste or shelf life
As well as being the perfect snack option between meals, dried apples make for a great addition to muesli. Thanks to their high percentage of micronutrients and slow release of energy, they are a good source of energy for those who do endurance sports. This quality also helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels.3
Dried apples keep best when stored in screw-top glass jars. Alternatively, they can be hung from a piece of string and stored in a dark room at room temperature. Dried apples produced commercially are often treated with sulfur dioxide to improve the appearance and increase shelf life (see Health aspects).4
Making homemade apple rings:
To make apple rings, use ripe apples that have been washed and cored. Depending on personal preference, you can peel the skin and then cut the apples into rings.3 But keep in mind that the skin of the apple has valuable phytonutrients that you won’t want to miss out on.
Dehydration, the method of drying food with hot air, is one of the oldest preservation methods in the world. In earlier times, it was used to preserve summer fruits for the winter. As the fruit dries during the dehydration process, microorganisms and mold can no longer attack it. Pome fruits such as apples and pears as well as stone fruits like dates and figs are some of the most commonly dehydrated fruits. Some of the best ways to dry fruit are either to use a dehydrator, a microwave, or a convection oven with the door left open.4
If there is sufficient direct sunlight, apple rings can also be dried in the open air or wrapped in breathable material such as cotton or gauze. Drying temperatures range from 40 to 70 °C (104 to 158 °F). At higher temperatures, the fruit quickly loses flavor and aroma, whereas at temperatures below 40 °C (70 °F) it begins to lose certain vitamins.5 The thickness of the rings tends to determine the duration of the drying process. Dried apple rings have to be dry, but also soft and flexible.4 Commercially dried fruit is usually treated with sulfur dioxide or its derivatives. This causes the fruit to maintain a light color and prevents microorganisms from reproducing. Ten kilos of apples produces one kilo of apple rings, provided they have been dried properly.3
Nutritional information for apples:
Apples contain 85 % water and only about 60 calories, making them one of the lowest calorie fruits. A medium-size apple contains more than 30 vitamins and trace elements, between 100 and 180 mg of potassium, and many other minerals such as phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, and iron. These nutrients are found in the skin and just below it.2
Nutritional information for dried apples:
Dried apples contain less than 30 % of the moisture found in fresh fruit, but have many nutrients. As they are highly concentrated, dried apples have a very intense, sweet taste. And since dried fruit is high in fructose, be sure to keep an eye on how much you eat, especially when eating larger quantities.1
Nonetheless, the sugar found in fruit is a good source of energy for nerves and muscles. Unlike the sugar found in candy and other sweets, blood glucose levels do not rise as quickly when we eat fruit. As a result, blood sugar levels don’t tend to spike as fast and we feel fuller for longer. Apart from vitamin C, the vitamins and minerals found in fruit are not lost during the drying process. Dried fruit is therefore highly concentrated in minerals, trace elements, and dietary fiber.3
Health aspects and intolerances:
A great source of dietary fiber, dried fruit is good for the digestive system and helps improve intestinal function. When eaten in excess, dried apples or other dried fruit can have a laxative effect and cause gas.1
This happens because the small intestine quickly becomes saturated with excess fructose, and some of the fructose passes into the large intestine. There, the fructose acts as a source of nutrients for the intestinal bacteria, producing gases and acids. As a result, many people suffer from diarrhea and gas.
The excessive consumption of fructose is one of the main culprits in the cause of fructose malabsorption syndrome, a condition that should not be confused with fructose intolerance. The latter refers to intolerance that can cause problems even when just small amounts of fruits and vegetables are eaten.6
The sulfur dioxide used in the production of dried fruit often destroys the B vitamins (especially B1 and folic acid) and can be problematic for people with asthma or skin allergies.
In addition, some producers use floured conveyor belts to prevent fruit from sticking. People with gluten intolerance should therefore carefully check the labeling when buying fruit.3
Some of the sulfur dioxide found on commercially produced apple rings can be removed with hot water. The presence of sulfur dioxide must be stated clearly on the packaging.3
General information about apples:
The apple tree belongs to the Maloideae subfamily. The apple owes its aroma to its esters, aldehydes, and alcohols, which vary depending on the apple variety. More information about apples can be found at the following link: Apple, raw, with skin.
Literature - Sources:
- Apotheken-Umschau (German pharmacy magazine). Trockenobst: Gesund oder Kalorienbombe? (Dried fruit: healthy or a calorie bomb). (apotheken-umschau.de/ Ernaehrung/Trockenobst-Gesund-oder-Kalorienbombe-233241.html
- Gesundheit (Health). Äpfel: Lecker und gesund. (Apples: delicious and healthy). gesundheit.de/ ernaehrung/ lebensmittel/obst/apfel
- Verbraucherservice Bayern (Consumer service in Bavaria). Trockenfrüchte – nährstoffreich und lecker. (Dried fruit — rich in nutrients and delicious). verbraucherservice-bayern.de/ themen/ernaehrung/ trockenfruechte-naehrstoffreich-und-lecker
- Wikipedia (German language). Apple rings.
- Wikipedia (German language). Dried fruit.
- Zentrum der Gesundheit (Center for health). Fructose (Fruchtzucker) — Die gefährlichste Form aller Zuckerarten (The most dangerous type of sugar).