While we think of dried apples as a way to preserve apples for eating, I like to dry apples each fall for decorating. Dried apples can be turned into many different craft projects from dried apple dolls, a craft from colonial America, to dried apple flowers to my favorite dried apple wreaths.
Dried apple wreaths are inexpensive to make and can be left plain and simple totally unadorned or decorated with spices including cinnamon sticks, whole nutmeg or star anise. Raffia or fall colored ribbons can add interest and color if desired.
Dried apple wreaths can be saved from one year to the next if brushed with a clear polyurethane coating, but I usually leave the apples natural and place the wreath outside for the birds when I am finished using it.
A small 8″ dried apple wreath can be made with two to three medium size apples. Slice the whole apple into thin uniform slices. Use firm fresh unblemished apples. I’ve used all varieties of apples including Granny Smith, red and yellow delicious and more recently gala.
Dip each apple slice in lemon juice, fresh or bottles, and then dip in salt. The lemon juice helps retain the color and the salt helps preserve the apple slices. Place the apple slices on a cooling rack, a screen or on a cookie sheet and place in a warm location.
In the summer I will cover with cheesecloth and place on the porch near a sunny window. In the fall or winter I place the apples on the kitchen counter next to the stove.
As the apples begin to lose their liquid, pat them dry using a paper towel and turn over once or twice a day. Air drying in this method will take 5 to 7 days depending upon the apples and how thick the slices are.
The apple slices may be dried in a gas oven with the pilot lit or on warm 200 degrees in an electric oven. Turn the apple slices every thirty minutes or so until they are dry.
Cut a ring from cardboard the size desired to use for a base and using a hot glue gun, glue the apples to the ring.