Dried Apple Christmas Decorations

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Dried Apple Christmas Decorations

By The Paula Deen Test Kitchen

Capture the whole house aroma of an apple pie baking in the oven by draping dried apple ring garlands on your mantel or banister.  They will add beauty and fragrance to your Christmas, and this is one craft you will enjoy munching while you string it. 

Firm, tart apples, as freshly picked as possible, are best for drying; good varieties to try are Jonathan and Rome Beauty.  But no matter what apples you use, make sure they are not mealy or bruised. 

You’ll first need to soak the apple slices in lemon juice or a solution of ascorbic acid (such as Fruit Fresh) and water to prevent them from discoloring as they are dried.  You can add to their fragrance by sprinkling the slices with sweet spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, or mixtures of allspice and apple pie spice, but if you want your decoration perfectly white, leave the spices off. 

For color, mix in lemon, grape, or magnolia leaves with the apples. Tie a pretty bow at each end of the garland, which will hide the string ends that you use to attach it; decorate the bows with jewels or crystal beads for festive sparkle.

To make the dried apple rings, peel and core the apples, and cut them into 1/4-inch-thick slices.  Soak the slices in a bowl of lemon juice or ascorbic acid and water solution for 6 to 10 minutes, making sure the slices are submerged.  Remove the slices from the solution, and pat them dry with paper towels.  Dust both sides of the apples with spices, if you are using them.

Place the apple slices in a single layer on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.  Bake at 150 to 200 degrees F. for 6 hours or until they are completely dried. They should be slightly pliable.

To make the apple garland, cut a piece of jute into a length about a foot longer than you need it; you can trim it after the garland is made. It is better to string several shorter lengths than one very long one.  Cut holes in the leaves to string them, if using.  Thread the apple slices and leaves on the garland, and tie a decorative bow at each end. Paula loves to add a vintage broach to each end for a little holiday sparkle!

Don’t want to decorate with your apples? How about just eating them!
Cousin Johnnie’s Caramel Apple Cheesecake
Uncle Bob’s Fresh Apple Cake
Outrageous Caramel Apples
Apple and Grilled Chicken Pizza
Apple Raisin Muffins
Caramelized Pork Loin

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Reader Comments:


I love the apple garland.... I bet the house smells wonderful! And I love the idea of adding a vintage broach for a bit of sparkle! Too pretty!

By Ellen on December 11, 2011

I think its a great idea. Had I thought of it I would have bought more apples when I went apple picking up in the mountains of South Carolina/North Carolina visited the orchards up on the mountain and had a great time picking the apples myself. Mom just made me some Jewish apple cake one of my favorites…not too sweet just right! Will try to use some apples next year!

By Brenda Davis on December 05, 2010

I love the design and I say from the bottom of my heart that I wish your family successful mery mery Chrismas. I never new Brandon could help in decorating a compoud as beautiful as shown above. Thanks for your good care of the family. Hope to hear from you after Chrismas

By Christopher Mahn on December 04, 2010

I really like this i want to try it. i was wondering if you could put cranberrys through it?

By kellie kirby on December 04, 2010

Love this idea.  Love the smell of apple and spices.  Plan to do this, but own a dehy. machine.  Merry Christmas and thank you for all of your green tips.

By Susan Yates on December 04, 2010

Yum Yum Your apple garland looks delicious. Great Idea. Just tie a little cinnamon to the bow and get the Christmas scent going!

By Tim Wallingsford on December 03, 2010

Love the garland Paula and Love your books,but in New Zealand it is too hot for apples and all my dried ones have long been eaten by the family.

By Cherie Drummond on December 03, 2010

Hi Paula,

What a fantastic idea… I love the bows at the end but, it needs a little spark.. Like little red holly berries and sparkle.

By Charsey Ascencio on December 03, 2010

I love ya Paula , but i just can’t hang food in my house, don’t know why, just can’t do it.

By Jeannie roman on December 03, 2010

Miss Paula…Great idea!  Love everything you do!  Have a “Buttery” Christmas and a very happy 2011!  Love ya!

By Donna Trainham-Martin on December 03, 2010

Miss Paula…..LOVE the apple swag!  Of course I love anything you do!  Sure it doesnt have BUTTER on it anywhere???  Love ya,,,and have a buttery holiday season!

By Donna Trainham-Martin on December 03, 2010

Love the apple swag….......Paula you are just fantastic…wish I had half of your creative juices….....Love love Love you and your family…................and I love Lady and Sons in Savannah…...taking the hubby there real soon…......he has never had the opportunity to vist there but oh my yes I have and I love it…
Merry Christmas to you and yours

By Mary Frances Walker on December 03, 2010

Hello mrs. Dean, I think anything that you come up with is just great! I wished your shows weren’t on so late!  I however won’t be making the garland, not because I don’t like it I do, but because my Husband & I can’t afford to do very much Christmas this year.  We do our level best to take care of our chrildren, and grandchildren.  Between the 2 of us we have 12.  But I do want to wish you and your a very merry Christmas.

By Kathy Gentry on December 03, 2010

Paula:  You are a “Good Cooker”!  That is what my grandson used to tell me.  My favorite recipes are from YOU!  Apple decorations are beautiful.  Especially using them to hold the name tag at the table.  Who would have thought of that, except Paula!

By Jane Hifiger on December 03, 2010

I love them Paula. Hey what happened with the glass decoration i sent to the Lady and Sons. Would love to see a pic of it. Thanks for all the great ideas. Keep them coming. Love you
Julia Sillyman
Garden Angels

By julia on December 03, 2010


By DHAR on December 03, 2010

I Love the garland idea. My daughter got married on 11/13/2010 and we had used apples for decorations at the reception.  I made applesauce for days to use them and not waste them.  Wow wished I had seen this first. But I have presents now. Merry Christmas!

By Colleen on December 03, 2010

Your’s looks pretty.  Did you make it yourself or your crew?  The article didn’t mention that it isn’t always as easy as it sounds.  I’ve tried drying apples before and they turned brown.  Some of them didn’t quite get dried out all the way and molded.  I was very frustrated.  It’s not a look or smell that I would use, but everyone has their own taste when it comes to holiday decorating.

By Annette Switzer on December 03, 2010

Paula, I love you and I love and I love your shows. People say we talk alike,I am from Ga.
I love anything with fruit for decorations. I will try this, I bet it smells so good.

By Peggy Wilson on December 03, 2010

Hey, That’s so awesome! I like the one looks like diamond earring for the bow ends!

I like cranberry and apples goes together.  After holiday, they would be my snacks.

By Douglas L. Woodworth on December 03, 2010

Beautiful !!!! What a great idea !  Wish this touch phone had smellavision….I bet the aroma of the apples is wonderful .

By Amy Cooper on December 03, 2010

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