Apple Season - Make Your Own (DIY) Apple Chips and Apple Vinegar! What to do with leftover apple scraps, peels and cores

I love those dried apple chips I find in the store. Those expensive, dried, apple chips that usually have only 4 slices of apple coated in sugar, oil and cinnamon jostling around in a mostly empty bag.

For years now I've also been drinking Apple Cider Vinegar every day. All the health benefits, aside, making vinegar takes absolutely no time of effort. That is my type of cooking.  

Our family usually composts our apple bits. Those peels and cores are usually designated to the bin, feeding our red wiggler worms.  After an overzealous bout of apple picking, I thought there had to be a way to reuse some or part of the apples in a different way.

Now of course, I'm not the first person to think this way. Martha Stewart usually beats everyone to the punch. Since I'm a staff of one and she has a whole research team, I thought I could come up with an easier way of making homemade apple chips with less sugar and in less time.

After you've peeled and cored the apples for pies, applesauce or apple crisp, here is a fun way to use up the leftovers.
Ingredients:
Organic apples
Sugar
Cinnamon (or whatever flavoring of choice)
Water

Preheat oven to 250º
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or use a silicon baking sheet.

Directions:
After washing apples and preparing all the elements for making an apple pie, separate the apple peels in a medium/large bowl and the cores into a 1/2 gallon glass mason jar.

Apple Chips
• Toss the peels with sugar and cinnamon to taste.*
• I used about 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1 tablespoon of cinnamon for the peels of 6 apples
• Coat the peels with the mixture
• Spread mixture onto the baking sheet, making sure that most of the raw side of the apple is facing upright.
• Bake for about 30 minutes. Check to see if the apples are dried. Some slices may need to be flipped over and tossed around to even the drying process. If necessary, put the apples back in the oven for 15 minutes, but watch carefully so the items don't burn.
• Take out of oven. Toss more cinnamon on the dried apples before the peels are completely cool.

Apple Vinegar*
Adirondack Family Time Guidebooks:
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• Place all the apple cores into the glass mason jar
• Fill glass jar with fresh water
• Add 2 tablespoons of sugar to the top
• Cover with cheese cloth
Let sit for 2 weeks in a warm location. Check periodically. When mixture is bubbling (fermenting) strain apple mixture, compost the apple cores. Continue to let vinegar to ferment until it's reached a strong enough flavor. Store in the fridge to stop the fermenting process.

* If any mold develops, toss the mixture and start over. Yes, I did learn that the hard way. Enjoy!

© Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Time™ guidebook series. Adirondack Family Time™guidebooks have easy, short Adirondack family hikes for ADK kids, parents, retired, seniors, dog-owners, Adirondack swimming holes, Lake Placid Olympic activities, Adirondack trivia, Adirondack horseback rides, Adirondack snowshoe family trails and more. Look for the Adirondack family guidebooks online or bookstores/museums/sporting good stores. Diane is currently working on the next Adirondack Family Activities™ guide.

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