Dried fruit is among the most readily available and versatile crafts supplies available. You can use virtually any type of dehydrated fruit in both 2-D and 3-D creations are. Some of the most popular include citrus fruits and apples. I’ve used various types of dehydrated fruit for Christmas ornaments, centerpieces, wall hangings and more.
With apples, you can use a variety of cuts to create versatile pieces with a unique grain and shape that’s only possible using apple. The problem is that if they’re dehydrated without any additional treatment, the apple pieces will come out looking brown and dull. Here is a quick guide to the proper way to dehydrate apple slices for crafts, and the different cuts of apples you’re likely to use. Throw in a little imagination, and you have amazingly unique rustic décor that’s perfect for cottage chic or log cabin decorative themes.
Preparing apples for dehydration
Apples tend to brown from oxidation and shrivel up or curl during the dehydration process. If you want the crinkled look that a little shriveling achieves, then great. However, the simple process of creating smooth, white-fleshed pieces adds amazing versatility and potential to your pieces.
Pick apples that are the correct size for your project. Remember that you can use standard apple slices, or cross-section pieces from any angle in the apple. A slice through the core reveals an attractive, creamy white circle with a star shape in the middle. Depending on the desired cut, you may only be able to use certain portions of the apple for your craft. Any pieces that can’t be used should be left untreated and either eaten fresh or dehydrated for consumption.
Cut your apple slices about ¼” thick. You may be able to get away with a little thicker, but make sure that they’re all a uniform size so that they dry at the same rate. Half-moon slices that are used for crafts generally keep the core and seeds as well as the meat. Cross-sectional pieces can run from stem to blossom end for a gorgeous full apple, or slice perpendicular to the core for the “star” cut.
How to make craft-worthy dehydrated apple pieces
The pesky browning from oxidation can significantly change the finished look of the piece. It won’t look like a nice, fresh apple once it oxidizes. There’s one easy solution – dip your apples in lemon juice before you put them in the dehydrator. Lemon juice not only prevents oxidation, it also works as a preservative to prevent long-term discoloration.
Load your dehydrator with the prepared apple slices. If you’re saving some for consumption, you may want to dehydrate them on a separate tray so that it’s easier to keep track of the ones intended for crafts. The pieces can touch each other in the dehydrator, but must not overlap in order to dry properly. Dehydrating times vary, but dry the apples until they’re leathery and still flexible, but not spongy. If you dry too much beyond this point, the pieces will become brittle and are difficult to use without breaking them.
Any seeds in your craft apple slices should be glued in place before they’re used in a project. There are literally hundreds of uses for these completed apple slices, including anything from flowers made from half-moon slices to Christmas ornaments made from apple stars. Let your imagination run wild with this easy and beautiful craft item.