Dried fruit is a favorite food to make with a food dehydrator
. Dried fruit has no preservatives, is healthy and nutritious, and has a naturally sweet taste. Food dehydration removes water from food. Different fruits can have between 80% to 95% water content, thus, as moisture is released from the fruit, the food’s natural sugars become more concentrated resulting in their sweet taste. Dried fruits are excellent to use as standalone snacks, or as ingredients, additions or toppings in cookies, pies, cobblers, cakes, breads, ice creams, pancakes, waffles, french toast or cereals.
Ripe fruits are the best to dehydrate. Choose fruits that are free of bruises and blemishes and thoroughly wash the fruit that is to be dehydrated. If desired, fruit skins can be peeled before drying. On the one hand, peels can take longer to dry and be tough after they are dried. However, many
peels contain high nutritional
If the dried food is intended as a snack,
it is better not to peel, however, many recipes call for peeled fruits. To peel, or not to peel, can be a personal preference.
Before drying, always try to slice or cut the food to the same size. This will result in more even drying. Generally, cutting fruits to ¼ inch thickness is perfect. This allows
moisture to escape. The
larger the cut area, the faster and better food dehydrates.
Fruit should be sliced across the core. Always try to make thin, flat cuts. Small fruits
like strawberries can be cut in half, while even smaller berries should either be cut
in half or checked slightly to break the skin ( x cuts across the skin or holes poked in the skin).
Some fruits, like apples, peaches, apricots and bananas can
oxidize and turn brown during the drying process or after dehydrating during storage. Prior to drying, dipping these fruits
in a solution of citrus juice like lemon juice, orange juice or pineapple juice,
or ascorbic acid, can help prevent this. After dipping, make sure to dry and drain the fruit on paper towels before placing it in the food dehydrator’s drying trays.
Below is a table listing how to prepare popular dried fruits, a range of drying times and what the food should look like when it is dehydrated. Note, there is no set drying times for food. When dehydrating foods, the dehydrator, ambient temperature and humidity, drying temperatures, thickness of produce, or ascorbic acid or vitamin C pretreatment versus no pretreatment will impact the time required to dry. Trial and error will determine what works best for your particular food dehydrator, favorite foods and preferences.
|Apples|| Wash. Peel if desired. Core. Cut into slices or rings
or chop into pieces.
||6-24 hours || Leathery, no moisture |
|Apricots>|| Wash. Do not peel. Halve and pit. Turn inside out or cut into silces.
||24-36 hours|| Leathery, and pliable |
|Bananas>>||Peel. Cut into slices
||6-10 hours>>|| Leathery and slighty sticky |
|Grapes|| Wash. Cut in half. Remove seeds. Place cut side
up. Seedless green grapes are easier to dry than red
||12-24 hours|| Raisin like texture and feel
|Peaches|| Wash. Peel if desired. Cut in half. Remove pit. Cut into slices
||6-15 hours|| Leathery may be sticky in the center
|Pears|| Wash. Peel if desired. Core and cut into slices
||6-10 hours|| Leathery feel
|Plums|| Wash. Do not peel. Cut in half and remove pit. Turn inside
out or cut in slices.
||6-10 hours|| Leathery and pliable
|Strawberries|| Wash. Cut in half. Place cut side up
||6-12 hours|| Hard and brittle.
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Published 8/20/2011 12:00:00 AM