My dehydrator went pop a few months ago and since then I have been researching ways to actually preserve the apples by drying without having to heat up something beforehand. Ideally one day I would like one of the posh Excalibur driers but that is a little way off yet. So needing to do something in the interim I have sort of made do with what's around me like the airing cupboard, bamboo canes, citric acid a little time and patience and have managed to process about 4lb of apples which is nicely esconced in the airing cupboard.
For the pre-treatment of the apples so that they do not go brown I soaked them in an ascorbic acid and water mixture. I used 3 teaspoons of crystalline ascorbic acid to 1 cup of cold water. If the fruit starts to go brown it is okay to increase the solution as needed so that the fruit does not brown. Any spoiled fruit should not be used as it will not keep. One cup of this solution will treat around 5 quarts of cut fruit. The fruit is then cut in reasonably thick slices of about 1/4 of an inch and left to soak for about 15 minutes. I then dried them with kitchen roll and took as much water off as I could. The apple rings were then strung on the bamboo canes in the airing cupboard making sure that the rings were not touching and left to dry. The apple rings should be dry when the apple has gone leathery and no water is coming out. Will update on this (if it works - I can but have a go) later on.
At the end of the day its about managing to preserve food for your own family's food store/pantry by whatever means are open to you. These invaluable methods, although "played with" by many today (including myself) years ago meant the difference between feeding your family to maintain good health and surviving. Every little skill plays a part, and this way round you know that no nasties have gone into it.