DONNA'S DAY: Make baked apple rings and applesauce

Baked apple rings are a tasty and nutritious snack you can make in your own kitchen on a chilly fall day.

Baked apple rings are a tasty and nutritious snack you can make in your own kitchen on a chilly fall day. We use zesty apples that friends share with us from their backyard trees, or we buy them at farmer's markets and apple orchards.

The drying process concentrates the sweetness of the apples, making them an ideal snack food to grab between meals or to include with trail mix on a hike or bike ride. Enjoyable for adults and kids to make together, you also can turn any leftover raw end apple pieces into chunky applesauce in just minutes in the microwave.

BAKED APPLE RINGS

(Makes about 50 rings)

4 firm apples

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 cup water

1. Heat oven to 250 F.

2. Prepare pans. Place wire cooling racks on two large baking trays. Or line two large baking trays with parchment paper.

3. An adult should core and cut the apples in 1/8-inch rings using a sharp knife or mandolin. There will be extra irregular-size pieces on the ends. Snack on them as you work or save for making microwave applesauce (see recipe below).

4. In a shallow dish, stir together lemon juice and water. Set prepared baking trays on the counter by ingredients. Young kids will enjoy dipping each slice into the lemon mixture and setting them on a rack or parchment paper. Edges may overlap slightly.

5. Bake rings until dried with a leathery texture, about two hours. (If using parchment-paper-lined pans, an adult should flip the rings over after 1 hour and return to oven for additional hour.)

6. Remove from oven and enjoy! Cool before storing.

TIP: For added flavor, sprinkle a mixture of 2 teaspoons cinnamon and 1 tablespoon sugar over the rings before baking.

MICROWAVE CHUNKY APPLESAUCE

2 cups apple chunks from cored apples of one or more varieties, peeled or unpeeled if you like (red peels may give a nice rosy color)

1/2 cup water

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Combine ingredients in a deep, microwave-safe bowl.

2. Cook, uncovered at full power for 5 minutes. Remove and stir well. Cook an additional 5 minutes.

3. Use a potato masher or whisk to mash and stir the apples into the liquid.

4. Cool and serve or refrigerate. Makes 2 servings

Donna Erickson's award-winning series "Donna's Day" is airing on public television nationwide. To find more of her creative family recipes and activities, visit www.donnasday.com and link to the NEW Donna's Day Facebook fan page. Her latest book is "Donna Erickson's Fabulous Funstuff for Families."  (c) 2019 Donna Erickson  Distributed by King Features Synd

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