SUMMARY: Learn Why and HOW to dehydrate apples & preserve the enzymes: Properly dehydrating apples at low temperature preserves maximum nutritional density and natural live enzymes since you can use apples picked seasonally and locally at their peak of ripeness.
Dehydrate Apples and Preserving Live Enzymes
My directions incorporate the Excalibur-9-Tray-Digital-Controller-Dehydrator-76970-User-Manual.pdf, Raw and Living Food Guidelines, Excalibur Dehydration Guide, which explains how to dehydrate apples & preserve the enzymes:
“One of the most important characteristics of raw foods, is they are easier for your body to digest than cooked food. The enzymes are what make raw foods easier to digest than cooked foods. When food is cooked the enzymes become deactivated by heat. During the digestive process, the natural food enzymes assist your body’s digestive enzymes in breaking down food into digestive proteins. By eating more raw foods, your body does not have to work as
hard to digest the foods, which gives your body more vibrant energy in other areas, making you feel stronger, healthier and happier.
Dehydration is the best way to preserve the essence of raw fruits and vegetables. Dehydrating does not subject foods to the high temperatures associated with cooking, or traditional canning
methods. When raw food is heated to an internal food temperature of 118ºF/48ºC or higher, for an extended period of time, its nutritional values begin to deteriorate, especially enzymes.
Canning also leaches out water-soluble vitamins and minerals, which also depletes the healthy qualities of the raw-living foods.”
Maximizing nutrient density
Apples in grocery stores today can be a year or more old, without antioxidants and taste (see That apple you just bought might be a year old – but does it matter?) For that matter, year old apples, without antioxidants and without live enzymes, may very well be used for the dried apples you are paying dearly for in the grocery:
- Freshly picked apples left untreated will last a few weeks before they turn soft and rot, so they’re often stored under temperature-controlled conditions that allow them to last up to 10 months. Once they’re removed from storage, however, the clock starts ticking again. – U.S. Department of Agriculture
- “To slow the proverbial sands of time, some fruit distributors treat their apple bins with a gaseous compound, 1-methylcyclopropene, It extends the fruits’ post-storage quality by blocking ethylene, a colorless gas that naturally regulates ripening and aging.” – U.S. Department of Agriculture
- The same chemical is used to lessen the “de-greening of broccoli, browning of lettuce, and bitterness in carrots,” according to the USDA. – U.S. Department of Agriculture
- Although antioxidants and taste disappears over time, experts tell TODAY.com, such treatments are perfectly safe for eating. “Apples are especially rich in polyphenols, a type of antioxidant.” Those antioxidants appear to disappear over time. The website Food Renegade cites research that claims a year-old apple may retain close to none of its antioxidant properties. Fernstrom said there may be truth to the correlation between age and decreasing antioxidant value, but stated the use of ethylene doesn’t appear to be the reason for it. “A recent study suggests that the amount of antioxidants in apples might drop with extended storage because these antioxidants are found in the peel, not the flesh of the apple.” – That apple you just bought might be a year old – but does it matter. NOTE: I don’t get this peel rationale, just saying…
- Apples stored this way may appear in the produce section of your grocery or they may be used to make juices, applesauce, frozen pies and other types of processed foods. – That apple you just bought might be a year old – but does it matter
Beyond apple age, you also want to have full control over the quality of apples you eat. Apples are on EWG’s Dirty Dozen list. You want to buy apples that are organic or locally grown, that may not be officially labeled “organic” but are grown as such (talk to your farmer). Surprisingly, even organic apples were treated with two antibiotics. This loophole pierced the “organic” definition as we more commonly understand. The Center for Food Safety reports “policy makers temporarily allowed both streptomycin and tetracycline as the exception to the organic rule to combat fire blight, a destructive bacteria that attacks tree blossoms, limbs, and shoots. Last year, tetracycline was banned and now, with the NOSB’s latest vote to rid organic of streptomycin, all uses of antibiotics in organic have been completely eliminated,” effective October 12, 2014.
Portion control & Fructose Loadings (think FODMAPS)
Proper dehydration magnifies and concentrates flavor in the thin slices. Only a few slices truly satiates a sweet tooth since they are so nutrient dense and flavor packed. Thus, portion control is a huge benefit since many apples now marketed are huge and truly more than one serving.
This concept is especially important for those using diet to manage IBS, IBD or other chronic disease and who want to limit fructose loads (see the below slide for levels, think FODMAPS, Specific Carbohydrate Diet, GAPS, or PALEO user.)
Favorite uses for properly prepared apples
These have become a staple and favorite for my family and friends:
- Always a jar on our kitchen island all snack on in passing,
- Added to recipes especially homemade granola using properly prepared soaked/dehydrated nuts (post coming soon but recipe is on my “WAPF Soaked Nut/Grain” Pinterest board.)
- Fantastic travel snack,
- The best way to preserve apples between seasonal harvest,
- The perfect hostess gift,
- Great for packaging in parcels shipped to college,
- Use in school lunch and athletic event treats, and of course
- Add to the holiday cookie platters shared with family and friends; these apples have become a favorite on those plates. Honestly though, I doubt many recipients realize the reason they are particularly drawn to their deliciousness is because they are properly prepared to maximize nutrition density.
Is a Dehydrator Needed for dehydrating apples (or nuts, fruits, jerky for that matter)?
Probably… most use a dehydrator but you can crack open an oven door to achieve the low bake temperature. Often though, the long bake time makes this impractical.
I recommend and use the Excalibur nine tray dehydrator; it is a kitchen workhorse as it is always fully loaded each time I run it. I keep my Excalibur set out all the time as it is awkward to move about; it actually lives in my dining room, catty cornered as the unit is more deep then wide or high.
Probably yes due to ENZYMES AND TEMPERATURE:
In short, you can bake the food at a 145F temperature for two to three hours and then lower to the 118F temperature since the temperature of the food itself will not rise above that which begins to destroy the live enzymes. As explained in Raw and Living Food Guidelines, Excalibur Dehydration Guide:
“There are many varying opinions among raw foodists concerning the temperature at which enzymes become deactivated. The most frequently quoted temperature is 118ºF/47ºC / (food temperature) based upon the studies of dr. edward howell. However, he also states that the optimal temperatures for enzymes are between 45º/7ºC and 140ºF/60ºC, and temperatures above 140ºF/60ºC will destroy all enzymes.”
“We have discovered through research and testing, that the second of these two statements is more accurate when dehydrating, and that enzymes can actually withstand food temperatures into the 140ºF/60ºC. According to Dr. John Whitaker, a world recognized enzymologist, and emeritus professor and dean of the Food Science and nutrition department at UC Davis in California; most enzymes do not become deactivated until they reach between 140ºF/60 ºC and 158ºF/70ºC. This supports Howell’s statement of 140ºF/60ºC, as well as our tests and scientific experiments.”
“We have tested food samples for enzymatic activity that were dried at temperatures up to 145ºF/63ºC and found it to be the same as in the foods dried at lower temperatures. Enzymes are also most susceptible to damage by high heat while the food is wet. Once a high percentage of the foods moisture has been removed, the enzymes become more stable or dormant, and can withstand food temperatures higher than 155ºF/68ºC, according to Viktoras Kulvinskas. When the food is rehydrated with water or in the digestive track the enzymes become active again and assist your body’s enzymes in the digestive process.”
“According to Ann Wigmore and Viktoras Kulvinskas, the best way to preserve the living enzymes, and overcome the potential of spoilage or bacteria growth, is to set the dehydrator on the
highest temperature setting for the first two or three hours, then turn it down to less than 120ºF/49ºC for the remaining time. during the initial hours the food temperature will not exceed 118ºF/47ºC because of the high moisture content in the food. neither will the air temperature immediately rise to 145ºF/63 ºC. It may take several hours to get up that high. Following this procedure will cut the lengthy (30+ hours) drying time in half. If you cannot be there to turn the dehydrator down you may set at a lower temperature between 105ºF/41ºC and 120ºF/49ºC, but keep in mind that the lower the setting, the longer it will take to dehydrate.”
Don’t choke on the Excalibur nine tray dehydrator price tag (Amazon $190). At about $3.00 for a two serving bag of Organic Washington State Fuji BareFruit Baked Crunchy Apple Chips (which likely are old apples that also have the enzymes baked out of them) dehydrating apples yourself is totally cost effective. And you can’t buy grass-fed lactose free yogurt (SCD/GAPS.PALEO – some camps), but you can make it in the Excalibur; just pull out the trays and bake away. This yogurt is a huge cost savings that results in an incredible nutrient and probiotic rich grass-fed cow or goat milk yogurt that has gut microbiome and health benefits beyond what science now knows; I make it every two weeks. See the post, CLA GRASSFED SCD YOGURT & CYTOKINE STUDIES: ERIVAN & WHOLE FOODS 365, for directions and details. Note: you can also use this yogurt to make frozen yogurt (ingredients are yogurt, honey, vanilla, ripe spotted bananas). You cannot purchase frozen yogurt without additives.
Other useful tools
A corer… a must have for quickly coring apples. The mandoline, while not necessary, makes slicing fast. I use this Leifheit mandoline which I found in Marshall’s for a decent price (under $30). Please be careful in its use; it can cut off fingers if you don’t use the guard.
Below are some ways I use my Excalibur properly prepared dehydrated apples, nuts, and buckwheat. All recipes are on my Pinterest boards. There are additional concerns inherent in nuts, seeds and grains concerning absorption and ease of digestibility that mandate proper preparation which is explained in the post, IT’S EASY TO SOAK AND DEHYDRATE NUTS.
Hoping 2015 brings you health and happiness,
Last updated: December 11, 2017 at 9:26 am
to fix broken link for Raw and Living Food Guidelines, Excalibur Dehydration Guide to instead be Excalibur-9-Tray-Digital-Controller-Dehydrator-76970-User-Manual.pdf. Prior update Feb 18, 2017 was SEO optimization.